Liver Cancer refers to the development of cancer cells in the liver. The liver can be affected by cancer cells that arise in the liver or by cancer which is primarily generated in different parts of the body and then spread to the liver. It is important to note that the liver is responsible for continuously filtering the blood that circulates through the body, converting the drugs and nutrients absorbed by the body from the digestive tract into ready-to-use chemicals. Besides that, a liver performs a number of crucial and extremely significant functions, such as removing chemical waste, toxins from the blood, and preparing them for excretion. Since all the blood has to pass through the liver, it is unusually accessible to cancer cells that travel in the bloodstream.
Types of Liver Cancer
Most kinds of liver cancer are metastatic or secondary, i.e. cancer that started somewhere else in the body and spread to the liver. Almost half of the metastatic cancers are found in the people of developing countries. This is usually due to the dominance of hepatitis, which is caused by a few contagious viruses, that eventually predispose an individual to liver cancer. Also, since the liver is made up of a number of cells, there is a huge possibility of several types of tumors developing there. Few of them can be non-cancerous, whereas a few of them can be cancerous and extremely harmful for the body, eventually spreading to the other parts of the body (metastasize). All these tumors are caused due to different reasons, which is why each of their treatments is different from the other. The recovery from these tumors widely depends on the kind of tumor an individual has.
Liver Cancer Causes
Liver cancer occurs when liver cells begin to develop changes (mutation) in their DNA. A cell’s DNA provides instructions for each chemical to process in the human body. DNA mutations can cause serious changes in these instructions. The disruption can make a cell generate or grow out of control and eventually turn into a tumor- a collection or a mass of cancerous cells. Sometimes the cause of the liver is known, for instance, chronic hepatitis infections. However, often the causes of liver cancer are difficult to know and identify which is why it becomes extremely difficult to assess what triggered it.
Liver Cancer Symptoms
Usually, when people suffer from liver cancer, they don’t immediately identify the sign because they do not seem extremely unnatural. For instance, loss of appetite, weight loss without any effort or exercise, general weakness and fatigue, vomiting and nausea, upper abdominal pain (this is prominent, however, people tend to avoid visiting a doctor for pain until unless its constant, lasting, and severe in nature), white or chalky stools, and yellow discoloration of the skin and the white of the eyes (jaundice). People with any of the symptoms mentioned above are highly recommended to have an appointment with a doctor that causes them any pain or internal harm.
Liver Cancer survival rates widely depend upon the stage of the disease and the factors associated with it. For 44% of cancer patients who are diagnosed at an early stage, their 5- year survival rate is 33%. In case the liver cancer spreads to surrounding organs through tissues or the regional lymph nodes, then the 5-year survival rate goes to 11%.
There are a few liver cancer treatments that have been proven to be effective in curbing liver cancer.
Surgery: Operation of the liver to treat liver cancer. Surgery to remove tumors is the first thing doctors recommend in surgery in case the tumor is small and the functioning of the liver is good to overcome the effects of surgery. Besides this, doctors recommend liver transplant surgery to remove and replace a healthy liver from a donor. However, this is only an option for a few percentages of people who have early-stage liver cancer.
Local treatments are suggested to those patients whose liver cancer is formed of cancer cells or the area near the cancer cells. For instance, heating those cancer cells through the electric current to destroy the cancer cells. Besides heating, those cancer cells can be destroyed by using cryoablation. Doctors can also inject alcohol into the tumor for it causes the cancer cells to stop multiplying and die.
Injecting chemotherapy drugs into the liver is also an option for patients that doctors usually perform. This way, chemoembolization; a chemotherapy treatment that directly supplies strong anti-cancer drugs into the liver to treat liver cancer.
Radiation therapy uses X-rays and protons to kill the cancer cells and limit the cancer cells to multiply and spread furthermore. Radiation therapy for advanced liver cancer can possibly help in even controlling the symptoms.
Diet and Nutrition Tips for Liver Cancer Patients
Patients with this cancer should avoid all kinds of processed food; food that has a lot of chemicals. Since the liver is widely responsible for detoxification, it is necessary that liver patients switch their diet to organic food. Liver patients are recommended to choose natural and organically grown food to ensure less pressure on their liver.
Cancer patients often experience nauseous while undergoing liver cancer treatment, which is why they are suggested to use ginger in their tea. Besides this, bland food like crackers, bananas, toast, applesauce, is also proven to be extremely helpful in curing nausea.
The diet of cancer should NOT include beef, pork, lamp; fatty meats, which is why doctors often recommend fish, poultry, or beans to liver cancer patients. The benefits of suggesting food widely depend on they are prepared, fish, poultry, or beans are healthier when they are poached, baked, and broiled, instead of frying or charbroiling the food
Oatmeal is proven to be extremely healthy and benefitting for liver cancer patients. Oatmeal is highly filled with fiber and fiber is extremely helpful for digestion. Oats and oatmeal are filled with compounds called beta-glucans. They are biologically appropriate in the body and help modulate the immune system to fight against inflammation. Besides this, oats are helpful in reducing the amount of fat stored in the liver mice, which eventually helps in keeping a healthy liver. It is suggested to avoid pre-packaged oatmeal and choose steel-cut oats, or common oats for consumption.
Coffee is good for the liver because it protects the liver from fatty liver diseases. It is also proven to be extremely helpful in reducing the risk of chronic liver disease. It protects the liver from crucial and adverse damaging conditions, like liver cancer by increasing the protective antioxidants in the liver.
Green tea helps in reducing fat content in general, it fights the oxidative stress and limits the signs of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). It also helps in enhancing the liver’s health.
Doctors suggest liver cancer patients consume 6-8 smaller meals a day than 3 heavy meals. Each of the meals is suggested to be in 2-3 hour intervals. It is studied that smaller and frequent meals throughout the day would ensure that your plate isn’t extremely full and eating a lot of food might be overwhelming.
Cancer patients should have grapes, grade seeds, and grape juice for they are filled with antioxidants. This will help the liver reduce inflammation and prevent the chances of it catching any direct damage.
Prickly pear is filled with compounds that help in protecting the liver from any damage. Besides this, doctors recommend plant foods in general to ensure long life and liver health.
About the Author
Pavtan Food Products have been made after years of scientific research based on Ayurveda and Medical Science.
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