Prognosis for Primary Liver Cancer
Liver is a vital organ and damaged liver function gives rise to various health complications. Liver lies in the upper right side of the abdomen and plays an important role in blood purification and production of bile that helps in the digestion of fats. Liver also works as a storehouse of glucose, the primary energy source.
Cancer that begins in the liver itself is known as primary liver cancer. When a patient is diagnosed with liver cancer, liver cancer prognosis provides information to the patient and his relatives about whether removal of cancer is possible, whether the patient is going to recover or what are the chances of recurrence of cancer, what are the treatment options, etc. In case of some patients, fast growth of cancer is noticed while in case of some other patients, slow growing cancer is noticed.
Liver cancer is recognized as a silent disease because no symptoms are exhibited during early stages. Early detection of cancer (when it is confined to the liver only) makes removal of cancer possible. It is possible to kill cancer cells with the help of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Liver transplant is also opted for, if the cancer is detected in early stages. Thus, prognosis of primary liver cancer detected in early stage is quite favorable. But generally, liver cancer is detected at advanced stage, when the cancer has spread to other organs. In such cases, liver cancer prognosis is very poor. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are still the treatment options, but the treatment is mainly focused at relieving the pain and making the life of the patient as comfortable as possible.
Primary liver cancer is also known as hepatocellular carcinoma. Alcohol abuse leading to liver cirrhosis can eventually cause liver cancer. Hepatitis C and hepatitis B can also cause liver cancer. After the surgical removal of cancer, about 30% people live for more than five years. Liver transplant increases the life expectancy up to 75%. Let us now take a look at what is the prognosis for liver cancer that has originated in some other part of the body and has eventually spread into the liver.
Prognosis for Secondary Liver Cancer
Secondary liver cancer is also known as metastatic liver cancer. As the name suggests, cancer has metastasized and spread into the liver and therefore prognosis for metastatic liver cancer is usually very poor. In such cases also, early diagnosis; i.e. when the cancer has spread only to the liver and not to any other organs of the body, makes a lot of difference (helps increase the life expectancy).
Abdominal pain, jaundice, fever, undesired weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, dark colored urine and pale colored stools are some of the commonly noticed metastatic liver cancer symptoms. Liver biopsy, MRI scan, gamma PET scan, Extreme Drug Resistance (EDR) test help understand the nature of cancer tumors which in turn helps determine the nature of the treatment. Test reports help select proper drugs and help determine chemotherapy dosage. Secondary liver cancer prognosis and secondary liver cancer life expectancy are very poor. Patients with metastatic liver cancer die within six months to one year of diagnosis, because the treatment options are limited. Similarly, prognosis for stage 4 liver cancer is also very poor. Stage 4 indicates advanced or last stage of the cancer. It suggests that the cancer has invaded several parts of the body. Cancer diagnosed at stage 4 cannot be cured so palliative therapy is usually followed.
Thus, liver cancer prognosis is influenced by type and stage of cancer and the overall health of the patient. Age, sex and hereditary factors do influence liver cancer prognosis. Availability of the advanced treatment options and how the patient responds to the treatment determine the prognosis for liver cancer. Use of proper medications, naturopathy medicines, nutritional therapy, mind-body medicine, and spiritual support help increase the life expectancy of the patient. One should not lose hope after knowing about the prognosis of metastatic liver cancer. Patients should always read the stories of the people who have successfully fought this disease. Strong mind and willpower help increase the life expectancy of liver cancer patients.