Tratamientos de cáncer de hígado

All liver cancer treatments explained clearly. Starting from which 3 types of liver cancer exist, causes of primary liver cancer and hepatitis b and c prevention.

We explain all curative liver cancer treatment options and when they are used: resection, liver transplantation, PEI, RF, cryoablation, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and chemoembolisation.

There are 3 very different kind of liver cancers to consider:

metastatic liver cancer

(father’s metastatic liver cancers like raisins in a raisin bread)

Also called secondary liver cancer is a cancer that started in another organ (colon, pancreas, stomach, lung or breast) and is now growing in the liver as well.

A cancer that started in the liver therefore is called primary liver cancer.

Hepatocellular carcinoma

(The contrast indicates a hypervascular arterialized lesion of hepatocellular carcinoma)

This is a primary liver cancer which normally grows as a ball like tumor in the liver. (hepatocytes are the main functioning liver cells).

People infected with hepatitis B virus are more at risk to develop heptocellular carcinoma. Most likely this is what caused my uncle to have primary liver cancer, due to an Hepatitis B infection het endured during a dentist visit in the 1970?s.

Delsa’s father has hepatocellular carcinoma like Delsa mentioned in her cancer story commented at: Metastatic liver cancer facts : secondary liver cancer.

Hi, I was crying reading the post.

My father was just diagnosed of Hepatocellular carcinoma(liver cancer) the doctor said it was 10cm already.

He is not doing any chemo nor radiation because we are afraid of the side effects and we want to give him a quality of life.

He is back in the village in the Philippines he is lossing lot of weight and appetite
is okay.

He sometimes complaining of mild pain in his lower back and he is taking ibuprofen.

I am just afraid everyday knowing my father will eventually get worse. I wanted to go home with my daughter to see him before he will get too sick, unfortunately the plane ticket is very difficult to get just because of the time that I want to go home right away.

He just turned 70 years old last week.

I am hoping and praying everyday that I could find a plane ticket to go see my father in the Philippines…


(Red arrow: ERCP showing total obstruction of the common hepatic duct by cholangiocarcinoma)

Cholangiocarcinoma is a cancer of the bile duct cells, often caused by an infestation with the liver parasite Clonorchis. This cancer grows along the bile ducts in sheets or lines. This liver cancer doesn’t manifest itself in a ball form and therefore is very hard to see on X-rays.

Primary liver cancer is more a disease of developing countries (10% to 50% of all cancers) than from
the industrialized world (1% of all cancers).

Countries like Sub Saharan Africa, China, Southern Asia, and Japan have the highest cases of liver cancer. It is no surprise to learn that my uncle with primary liver cancer lived in Malaysia and that Delsa’s father has liver cancer in the Philippines.

hepatitis b and c

How hepatitis b and c is spread

We mentioned above that people infected with hepatitis B virus are more at risk to develop heptocellular carcinoma.

Since hepatitis b and c prevention is easy and efficient in lowering the risk in getting primary liver cancer, we won’t elaborate further on hepatitis b or hepatitis c treatments.

Scientists agree that once cause of liver cancer is exposure to vinyl chloride also known as : chloroethene, chloroethylene, and ethylene monochloride which is a colorless gas.

People could get exposed to vinyl chloride by:

breathing in air containing vinyl chloride or
consuming water contaminated with vinyl chloride.

Vinyl chloride – frequently used in manufacturing – is known as a human carcinogen (a carcinogen makes it easy for a cancer to evolve) able to cause liver cancer, brain cancer, angiosarcoma, and other health problems in people who are exposed to it.

You wonder why people still use manufacturing techniques that exposes humans to carcinogen. Not to mention other well known examples of carcinogens like :

tobacco smoke and asbestos.

Other causes of liver cancer are unspoken but the following risk factors for liver cancer are important:

chronic hepatitis,
cirrhosis of the liver (caused by prolonged alcohol abuse) and
liver flukes (parasites like Clonorchis, see above in cholangiocarcinoma).

Based on the type of liver cancer mentioned above, the stage of your liver cancer, your age and overall health, personal preferences, financial status and the medical facilities available in your hospital of choice, doctors will suggest one of the following liver cancer treatments:

resection or surgical removal in case of a primary liver cancer removing the affected part of the liver. Surgery is not an option when the liver cancer is too big or when it is located badly for surgery
other liver cancer treatment techniques to remove or destroy the cancer using laser or other procedures for removal or destruction of liver cancers:
RF: radiofrequency ablation is effective for small, unresectable hepatocellular cancers: a special electrode (small needle) is placed in the liver cancer and a radiofrequency current heats the cancer tissue to destroy or ‘ablate’ it
the opposite idea is freezing the liver cancer cells to death: Cryoablation is a liver cancer treatment where one or more special needles called cryoprobes are inserted through small incisions in the skin and into the cancer. Gas that flows through the cryoprobes will create and extreme cold causing the cells around each needle to freeze
Hepatocellular Chemoembolization : during this liver cancer treatment, the artery from which liver cancer derives its blood supply will be blocked. Then liver cancer chemotherapy drugs will be injected inbetween the blockage and the liver cancer
PEI : Percutaneous Alcohol Injection Therapy (also known as PEIT) is a low tech liver cancer treatment especially used in Italy, the Far East, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

liver cancer treatments

Alcohol (ethanol) is injected under local anesthetic through the skin, directly into the liver cancer. Doctors will use an ultrasound scan to see exactly where to put the needle.

The alcohol kills the liver cancer by dehydrating the tissue and stopping the blood supply to the cancer.
This type of liver cancer treatment is most useful for a small number of cancer tumor measuring about 3 – 4cm (between 1 and 2 inches) across.

The number of cancer treatment sessions will depend on the size and number of tumors in your liver and during each session, you may have 1 or 2 injections

removing the whole liver and replacing it with a liver from another person is another possible form of primary liver cancer treatment (liver transplantation)
chemotherapy is the most likely suggested cancer treatment using drugs in the hope to kill the cancer and not the patient. Sometimes it is used to shrink the liver cancer before surgery
radiotherapy is not really an option because the liver will be badly affected by the radiation.

In case the cancer treatments wont lead to a cure, they will be used to reduce pain and the so called "to improve quality of life".

Every time doctors suggest liver cancer treatments, do ask whether the cancer treatment is:

to cure the liver cancer (curative cancer treatments) or
to improve quality of life (also called palliative care or symptomatic cancer treatments).

Liver cancer treatments first depend on the liver cancer being a primary or a secondary liver cancer.

For secondary liver cancer treatments, we suggest you continue reading the treatments given to our 4 metastatic liver cancer survivors. In most cases only symptomatic cancer treatments will be suggested.

For primary liver cancer treatments, they idea is to remove the cancer using one of the following techniques:

liver transplantation,
cryoablation or
during clinical trials including chemoembolization or new liver cancer

Please note that a liver cleanse is not part of effective liver cancer treatments.

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