IntroductionVarious factors increase the risk of liver cancer. Preventing or avoiding these factors reduces the risk of liver cancer. Several treatment options are available for managing liver cancer. It is difficult to diagnose liver cancer at an early stage due to the absence of symptoms.
What Are The Causes Of Liver Cancer?Although the exact cause of liver cancer is not known in most cases, the presence of various factors increases the risk of liver cancer. The factors that increase the risk of liver cancer are:
Cirrhosis: It is a progressive condition characterized by the replacement of the healthy liver tissue with scar tissue. The presence of cirrhosis increases the risk of liver cancer.
Hepatitis infection: Prolong infection due to hepatitis C or hepatitis B virus increases the risk of liver cancer.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: NAFLD is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver. It increases the risk of liver cancer.
Diabetes: Studies indicate that people with diabetes have an increased risk of liver cancer as compared to those who do not have diabetes.
Excessive alcohol consumption: Taking a higher than the recommended amount of alcohol for prolonged period results in liver damage and an increased risk of liver cancer.
Can Liver Cancer Be Prevented?There are some cases where the exact cause of liver cancer is found such as prolong hepatitis infection. However, in other cases, no exact cause can be determined. However, certain factors increase the risk of liver cancer. Avoiding or treating these factors may result in a reduced risk of liver cancer. Following are the ways to prevent or reduce the risk of liver cancer:
Vaccination: Hepatitis B can be prevented through vaccination. It helps in reducing the impact of liver cells due to the hepatitis B virus.
Preventing hepatitis C infection: There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. However, there are ways to prevent hepatitis C infection. The person should avoid unprotected sex, look for a clean and safe shop for tattooing, and avoid injecting illegal drugs through shared needles.
Limit alcohol consumption: To preserve the health of the liver and to reduce liver cancer risk, you should limit your alcohol consumption.
Maintain a healthy weight: NAFLD is linked to obesity. Thus, a person should maintain a healthy weight to avoid developing NAFLD.
Switch to a healthy diet: Healthy diet plays an important role not only for liver health but for the health of the whole body. Incorporate fruits and vegetables into the diet. Eat a diet rich in fibers and low fatty acid. Avoid eating the grains which are stored in poor conditions as they may have the exposure to aflatoxin that is a risk factor for cancer.
Routine exercise: To maintain a healthy weight, you should perform exercise routinely.
Control the underlying medical condition: You should control underlying medical conditions such as diabetes.
Can Liver Cancer Be Diagnosed At Early Stage?Liver cancer, in its initial stage, does not show any symptoms. Thus, it is difficult to diagnose the condition at an early stage. At an early stage, the tumors are small and cannot be identified through physical examination.
It is, thus, recommended that people with increased risk of liver cancer should undergo a routine examination of the liver. Although there are no specific guidelines for liver cancer screening in patients who are not at risk. People who are at risk like suffering from NAFLS, take excessive alcohol, or are suffering from cirrhosis should undergo routine screening at least once or twice a year. The screening includes blood tests and imaging techniques.