Liver tumour/ cancer

What Is Liver tumour/ cancer?

Tumours are groups of cells which have abnormal growth to form a mass of tissue. The mass may be solid or filled with fluid. When such tumours are formed in the liver, they are called liver tumours or liver cancers.

Cancer or tumours that start in the liver are called primary cancers or primary tumours.

Cancers that spread to the liver from other body parts are called secondary tumours/cancers or metastatic liver cancer.

The liver is made up of different types of cells, and hence several types of tumours can be formed there:

  • Benign tumour-These are noncancerous tumours. They can grow up to a large side and cause problems but do not attack nearby tissues or spread to different parts of the body. A patient with benign tumours is generally cured by removing the tumour through surgery.
  • Malignant tumours- These are cancerous tumours, grow rapidly in size, progressively worsen the condition and may result in death. Malignant tumours multiply rapidly and spread to different parts of the body (metastasize).

This article mainly focuses on primary liver tumourscancerous tumour, which is malignant and has been formed in the liver cells.

Types of primary liver tumours:

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Liver angiosarcoma
  • Hepatoblastoma

What Is Liver tumour/ cancer?

Tumours are groups of cells which have abnormal growth to form a mass of tissue. The mass may be solid or filled with fluid. When such tumours are formed in the liver, they are called liver tumours or liver cancers.

Cancer or tumours that start in the liver are called primary cancers or primary tumours.

Cancers that spread to the liver from other body parts are called secondary tumours/cancers or metastatic liver cancer.

The liver is made up of different types of cells, and hence several types of tumours can be formed there:

  • Benign tumour-These are noncancerous tumours. They can grow up to a large side and cause problems but do not attack nearby tissues or spread to different parts of the body. A patient with benign tumours is generally cured by removing the tumour through surgery.
  • Malignant tumours- These are cancerous tumours, grow rapidly in size, progressively worsen the condition and may result in death. Malignant tumours multiply rapidly and spread to different parts of the body (metastasize).

This article mainly focuses on primary liver tumourscancerous tumour, which is malignant and has been formed in the liver cells.

Types of primary liver tumours:

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Liver angiosarcoma
  • Hepatoblastoma

What Are The Symptoms Of Liver tumour/ cancer?

During early stages, most people do not experience symptoms When symptoms do appear, they can be:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Fever, loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Tenderness in abdomen, pain and general feeling of discomfort
  • Stools appear white and chalky
  • Skin and the white part of eyes appear yellowish, also called jaundice, fatigue
  • Feeling weak
  • Skin bruises and bleeds easily

What Are The Causes Of Liver tumour/ cancer?

Causes of primary liver cancer can be:

Liver cancer occurs when there is a mutation (genetic change) in the DNA of the liver cells. These mutations cause changes in the instructions to be given to the cells. As a result, the cells grow out of control, multiply rapidly and form a mass, which becomes a tumour.

There are certain factors which put some people more at risk to liver cancer than others. The risk factors are:

  • People who have diabetes have a greater risk of liver cancer than those who do not have diabetes.
  • Chronic infection with hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus increases the risk for liver cancer.
  • Cirrhosis of the liver- Scar tissue is formed in the liver, mostly due to alcohol abuse which develops into a tumour.
  • Some inherited liver diseases like hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease also increase the risk.
  • An accumulation of excess fat in the liver also increases the risk of liver cancer.
  • Family history- People who have had cases of liver cancers in the family are at greater risk.
  • People who have low immune systems, as in the case of HIV/AIDS have more chances of getting this disease.
  • Obesity and smoking also raise the risk level for acquiring this disease.

What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Liver tumour/ cancer?

Primary liver cancer is a life-threatening disease and coping and living with it can be very challenging. Some coping mechanisms are listed below:

  • Read about the symptoms and complications of liver cancer so that you can manage it on a day to day basis, take an informed decisions and choose the right treatment options.
  • Talk to family, friends and support groups about your condition and allow them to help you.
  • Take counselling sessions to help deal with the trauma.
  • Meet up with survivors of this disease and talk to them. This will help you stay positive as well as get more insights for better management of the disease.
  • The main cause of the disease is cirrhosis of the liver.  You can reduce the risk of liver cancer through cirrhosis by the following ways:
  • Limit the intake of alcohol.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you are working in a chemical factory, use caution while handling the chemicals.
  • Taking measures to prevent hepatitis B and hepatitis C can also reduce the risk of liver cancer. Some ways are:
  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis B infection.
  • Be aware of your partner’s health condition and rule out the possibility of STD, use a condom always.
  • When piercing body, getting tattoos, be alert and see that the needles used are sterile.
  • If there is a hepatitis B or a hepatitis C person at home, be careful about blood, body fluid spillage, handling bandages, sanitary pads, and other things.

What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Liver tumour/ cancer?

  • Smoking or consuming alcohol is strictly prohibited. Smoking and drinking increase the chances of cancer recurrence and metastasis in a liver cancer patient.
  • Once diagnosed with cancer, do not become inactive. Exercise has proven to be beneficial in improving physical and emotional health of the patient.
  • Extreme weight gain or weight loss is common during treatment. Do not go on diet or start excessive eating. Consulting a nutrition expert to chalk out a diet chart according to your body’s requirements would help.
  • Don’t rely on supplements for nutrition.  They should be taken along with nutritious food and not as a replacement of food.
  • As such liver cancer cannot be prevented, but the risk of acquiring it can be reduced by the following ways:
  • Do not use illegal drugs, as injecting yourself with used/unsterilized needles can cause an infection.
  • Do not have unprotected sex, always use a condom. Also, do not have sex with unknown partners.
  • Do not lead a sedentary life, as obese and unhealthy people have an increased risk of any disease.

What Are The Best Foods For Liver tumour/ cancer?

Having liver cancer means that along with treatment you should have the right nutrition to gain energy, stamina and rebuild cells and tissues. Eat small, frequent meals to ensure that body is getting enough nutrients, and small meals mean easy on the digestive system.

  • Include lean protein in your diet as protein helps in repairing cells and tissues. Protein sources are low-fat milk and low-fat dairy products, lean meat like fish, turkey, and chicken, vegetables like beans, soy, nuts and nut butter.
  • Carbohydrates provide you with energy as well as fibre. Healthy sources are whole wheat food items, oatmeal, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, barley.
  • Vitamins and minerals are needed to improve the immunity of the body. The improved immune system means faster healing and recovery. Include all varieties of fruits and vegetables in your diet to the goodness of different vitamins and minerals, each having their own benefits.
  • Use healthy fats and oils for cooking. Healthy fats are found in olive oil, avocado, seeds, nuts.
  • Drink enough water during cancer treatment to avoid dehydration.

What Are The Worst Foods For Liver tumour/ cancer?

Avoiding the following foods can help you in improving the symptoms of liver cancer:

  • Avoid high protein food: High protein food like fatty meat can cause toxic build-up in the liver and aggravate symptoms. Opt for lean meat instead.
  • Avoid high-fat food if you have liver cancer. Fatty food makes the liver overwork, which is already under stress due to the disease and medicines. Avoid fried food, junk food, chips, cookies, pastries, etc.
  • Avoid high intake of salt as salt cause swelling and inflammation. Limit eating processed foods, canned soups, frozen foods, etc.
  • Limit eating sugary foods like cakes and other sweets as these satiate your hunger but have very little nutritional benefits, thereby not meeting the nutritional requirements for the day.

What Are The Medicines For Liver tumour/ cancer?

What Are The Tips To Manage Liver tumour/ cancer?

An important tip is to have regular health check-ups. If the cancer is detected in early stages treatment is going to be more effective. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Liver tumour/ cancer?

During early stages, most people do not experience symptoms When symptoms do appear, they can be:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Fever, loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Tenderness in abdomen, pain and general feeling of discomfort
  • Stools appear white and chalky
  • Skin and the white part of eyes appear yellowish, also called jaundice, fatigue
  • Feeling weak
  • Skin bruises and bleeds easily

What Are The Causes Of Liver tumour/ cancer?

Causes of primary liver cancer can be:

Liver cancer occurs when there is a mutation (genetic change) in the DNA of the liver cells. These mutations cause changes in the instructions to be given to the cells. As a result, the cells grow out of control, multiply rapidly and form a mass, which becomes a tumour.

There are certain factors which put some people more at risk to liver cancer than others. The risk factors are:

  • People who have diabetes have a greater risk of liver cancer than those who do not have diabetes.
  • Chronic infection with hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus increases the risk for liver cancer.
  • Cirrhosis of the liver- Scar tissue is formed in the liver, mostly due to alcohol abuse which develops into a tumour.
  • Some inherited liver diseases like hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease also increase the risk.
  • An accumulation of excess fat in the liver also increases the risk of liver cancer.
  • Family history- People who have had cases of liver cancers in the family are at greater risk.
  • People who have low immune systems, as in the case of HIV/AIDS have more chances of getting this disease.
  • Obesity and smoking also raise the risk level for acquiring this disease.

What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Liver tumour/ cancer?

Primary liver cancer is a life-threatening disease and coping and living with it can be very challenging. Some coping mechanisms are listed below:

  • Read about the symptoms and complications of liver cancer so that you can manage it on a day to day basis, take an informed decisions and choose the right treatment options.
  • Talk to family, friends and support groups about your condition and allow them to help you.
  • Take counselling sessions to help deal with the trauma.
  • Meet up with survivors of this disease and talk to them. This will help you stay positive as well as get more insights for better management of the disease.
  • The main cause of the disease is cirrhosis of the liver.  You can reduce the risk of liver cancer through cirrhosis by the following ways:
  • Limit the intake of alcohol.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you are working in a chemical factory, use caution while handling the chemicals.
  • Taking measures to prevent hepatitis B and hepatitis C can also reduce the risk of liver cancer. Some ways are:
  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis B infection.
  • Be aware of your partner’s health condition and rule out the possibility of STD, use a condom always.
  • When piercing body, getting tattoos, be alert and see that the needles used are sterile.
  • If there is a hepatitis B or a hepatitis C person at home, be careful about blood, body fluid spillage, handling bandages, sanitary pads, and other things.

What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Liver tumour/ cancer?

  • Smoking or consuming alcohol is strictly prohibited. Smoking and drinking increase the chances of cancer recurrence and metastasis in a liver cancer patient.
  • Once diagnosed with cancer, do not become inactive. Exercise has proven to be beneficial in improving physical and emotional health of the patient.
  • Extreme weight gain or weight loss is common during treatment. Do not go on diet or start excessive eating. Consulting a nutrition expert to chalk out a diet chart according to your body’s requirements would help.
  • Don’t rely on supplements for nutrition.  They should be taken along with nutritious food and not as a replacement of food.
  • As such liver cancer cannot be prevented, but the risk of acquiring it can be reduced by the following ways:
  • Do not use illegal drugs, as injecting yourself with used/unsterilized needles can cause an infection.
  • Do not have unprotected sex, always use a condom. Also, do not have sex with unknown partners.
  • Do not lead a sedentary life, as obese and unhealthy people have an increased risk of any disease.

What Are The Best Foods For Liver tumour/ cancer?

Having liver cancer means that along with treatment you should have the right nutrition to gain energy, stamina and rebuild cells and tissues. Eat small, frequent meals to ensure that body is getting enough nutrients, and small meals mean easy on the digestive system.

  • Include lean protein in your diet as protein helps in repairing cells and tissues. Protein sources are low-fat milk and low-fat dairy products, lean meat like fish, turkey, and chicken, vegetables like beans, soy, nuts and nut butter.
  • Carbohydrates provide you with energy as well as fibre. Healthy sources are whole wheat food items, oatmeal, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, barley.
  • Vitamins and minerals are needed to improve the immunity of the body. The improved immune system means faster healing and recovery. Include all varieties of fruits and vegetables in your diet to the goodness of different vitamins and minerals, each having their own benefits.
  • Use healthy fats and oils for cooking. Healthy fats are found in olive oil, avocado, seeds, nuts.
  • Drink enough water during cancer treatment to avoid dehydration.

What Are The Worst Foods For Liver tumour/ cancer?

Avoiding the following foods can help you in improving the symptoms of liver cancer:

  • Avoid high protein food: High protein food like fatty meat can cause toxic build-up in the liver and aggravate symptoms. Opt for lean meat instead.
  • Avoid high-fat food if you have liver cancer. Fatty food makes the liver overwork, which is already under stress due to the disease and medicines. Avoid fried food, junk food, chips, cookies, pastries, etc.
  • Avoid high intake of salt as salt cause swelling and inflammation. Limit eating processed foods, canned soups, frozen foods, etc.
  • Limit eating sugary foods like cakes and other sweets as these satiate your hunger but have very little nutritional benefits, thereby not meeting the nutritional requirements for the day.

What Are The Medicines For Liver tumour/ cancer?

What Are The Tips To Manage Liver tumour/ cancer?

An important tip is to have regular health check-ups. If the cancer is detected in early stages treatment is going to be more effective.