Liver Cancer

Definition of liver cancer: Primary liver cancer is cancer that forms in the tissues of the liver. Secondary liver cancer is cancer that spreads to the liver from another part of the body.

Estimated new cases of liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer in the United States in 2016: 39,230

Primary liver cancer (including intrahepatic bile duct cancer) is the fifth most common cause ofcancer death in men and the ninth most common cause of cancer death in women. Men are about three times as likely as women to develop liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancers. Asians/Pacific Islanders and American Indians/Alaska Natives have higher incidence rates of these cancers than people of other races/ethnicities.

Almost all cases of liver cancer in the United States occur in people with alcohol-related cirrhosis or who are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV). Obesity,diabetes, and iron storage disease are other risk factors for liver cancer. Vaccinating for HBV provides long-term protection from HBV infection and has been shown to lower the risk of liver cancer in children, although it is not yet known whether it lowers the risk in adults. There is no standard or routine screening test for liver cancer. Standard treatments for liver cancer include surgery, liver transplant, ablation therapy, embolization therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, andtargeted therapy.

The Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer Staging System may be used to stage adult primary liver cancer.

There are several staging systems for liver cancer. The Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) Staging System is widely used and is described below. This system is used to predict the patient’s chance ofrecovery and to plan treatment, based on the following:

  • Whether the cancer has spread within the liver or to other parts of the body.
  • How well the liver is working.
  • The general health and wellness of the patient.
  • The symptoms caused by the cancer.

The BCLC staging system has five stages:

  • Stage 0: Very early
  • Stage A: Early
  • Stage B: Intermediate
  • Stage C: Advanced
  • Stage D: End-stage

All information was taken from the NCI (National Cancer Institute)