IS LIVER CANCER PREVENTABLE?
How can we prevent liver cancer?
Among the very effective ways to decrease the risk of developing liver cancer is to avoid exposure to hepatitis B and C viruses. Hepatitis B is now curable by vaccination. Vaccines for hepatitis B are a part of the immunization schedule for children and adults. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. Practicing secure sex and avoiding IV drug abuse can cure hepatitis. Screening should be completed for hepatitis B and C as a part of the schedule health check.
Once detected, If you have chronic hepatitis B, you might be a patient for antiviral treatment, which can sluggish down progression of liver disease and reduces (although not remove) the risk of liver cancer. Likewise hepatitis C, suitable treatment can get rid of the virus in nearly 80 per cent of individuals if treatment is started early. Unobserved and untreated, however, infection with the hepatitis B virus can lead to liver failure, cirrhosis, and cancer.
The role for Diet, Lifestyle in preventing liver cancer
Alcoholism causes not only liver injury and cirrhosis but increases the risk of liver cancer. Patients with hepatitis B and C and alcoholism are at very high danger. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation or not at all.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is now plague in the west and developing countries like India. In this situation, a type of fat called triglycerides accumulates in the liver, which can lead to liver damage. NAFLD can cause cirrhosis and predispose to cancer. It usually occurs in people who are overweight or obese, or who have type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. A sedentary lifestyle with lack of exercise, low fibre-high fatty food diet, calorie, central obesity predisposes to NAFLD.
Food and grains which are inappropriately stored can cause exposure to fungal toxins called aflatoxin which predisposes to cancer.
Can we notice liver cancer early?
Frequently it is hard to find liver cancer at the beginning because signs and symptoms often do not appear until it is in its afterwards stages. Little liver tumours are hard to notice on a physical exam and by the time a tumour can be felt, it might already be quite big.
There are no broadly suggested screening tests for liver cancer in people who are not at enlarged risk. (Screening is testing for cancer in people without any symptoms.) But testing may be suggested for a number of people at greater risk such as hepatitis B and C patients, alcoholic liver disease, NAFLD and another rare liver disease. Recommend liver cancer screening every 6 to 12 months with alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) blood tests and an ultrasound exam.
Ultrasound is a cheap and very easy investigation though it can miss tumours sometimes and is simply a screening tool. A CT scan / MRI of the liver and biopsy may be required for additional distinguish.
Can we treat liver cancer?
Patients with early-stage tumours that can be removed surgically have the best possibility of being cured. However numerous liver cancers are inoperable at diagnosis, either because the cancer is too higher or the liver is too unhealthy to allow surgery. In such patients, novel therapies such as radiofrequency ablation, Radio-embolisation, chemoembolisation, are presently accessible to control the tumour. In selected patients with a higher stage of liver disease and liver cancer liver transplantation is the treatment of option.
Higher Stage of liver cancer has no typical healing treatment. Chemotherapy drugs such as sorafenib and low-dose radiotherapy may control cancer’s spread and ease pain; however, these are of modest advantage in this kind of cancer. Several patients require physically powerful painkilling medicine along with medicines to ease nausea and swelling or to improve appetite.