What is liver cancer
The liver is the largest intra-abdominal organ of the human body. It is situated under the right rib , below right lung and is divided into two lobes. The liver has several important functions in the human body like secreting bile into the intestines to help absorption of nutrients , breaking down toxins like drugs and alcohol in the blood, which then passes through urine and stool. It also has the job of making most of the blood clotting factors that help in stopping excessive bleeding at the time of a cut or injury.
The liver is composed of a number of cells called hepatocytes. It is also made up of many other types of cells which include blood vessels and cells that are found in the lining of bile ducts. Bile ducts are small tube-like structures that extend out of the liver and carry a substance called bile which has the role of breaking down fats. Bile is also carried by the bile ducts from the liver to the gallbladder and intestines.
The different types of cells that are found in the liver can form different types of tumors. These tumors can either be cancerous (malignant) or non- cancerous (benign). The treatment of liver cancer depends on a number of factors like the kind of tumor, the cause of the tumor, number and size. Each of these tumors have a different prognosis.
Liver cancer can be of three primary categories, benign liver tumors, primary liver cancer, and secondary or metastatic liver cancer.
- Benign liver tumors are tumors that sometimes grow large enough to create problems. These tumors, however, don’t grow into the nearby tissue or organs and do not spread to distant sites. Most of these tumors can be treated with surgery.
- Primary liver cancer is the cancer that starts in the liver
- Secondary liver cancer is cancer that has spread to the liver from another part of the body like the pancreas, colon, stomach, lung or breast. The tumors in secondary lung cancer are named based on the primary site or area in which the cancer was found.