Types, Risk Factors and Symptoms of Liver Cancer

Cancer that starts in the liver is called primary liver cancer. Secondary liver cancer is when other cancer types spread to the liver. For example, cancer can start in the intestines (colon) and spread to the liver. This is called metastatic colon cancer.

There is more than one type of primary liver cancer in adults. The most common type is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). There is a subtype of HCC called FLHC (fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma). FLHC affects a small number of people and usually occurs at a younger age.

The second most common type of primary liver cancer is called intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, which is a cancer of the bile ducts. Other primary liver cancers in adults include rare types of sarcoma that start in the blood vessel cells of the liver. Another rare type is made of both hepatocellular carcinoma and holangiocarcinoma (this is called a mixed-type tumor).

Risk is based on:

  • Those with cirrhosis
  • Those without cirrhosis

Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver. It is a type of long-term (chronic) liver disease where liver cells are replaced by scar tissue. If you have cirrhosis, you should be screened for liver cancer.

Cirrhosis can be caused by:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Alcohol
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Genetic hemochromatosis
  • Stage 4 primary biliary cholangitis
  • Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency
  • Other causes of cirrhosis

Risk factor for liver cancer.

Those with cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis B should be enrolled in a liver cancer screening program

Risk factors for those with cirrhosis:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Alcohol
  • NAFLD
  • Genetic hemochromatosis
  • Stage 4 primary biliary cholangitis
  • Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency
  • Other causes of cirrhosis

Risk factors for those without cirrhosis:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Additional risk factors include HBV carrier with family history of liver cancer, Asian males 40 years of age or over, Asian females 50 years of age or over, and African/North American Blacks with hepatitis.epatitis

Hepatitis is a type of liver disease. Viruses called hepatitis A, hepatitis B (HBV), and hepatitis C (HCV) are the most common causes of hepatitis. HBV and HCV are spread by contact with blood and other bodily fluids. HBV and HCV can cause scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), liver failure, and liver cancer. If you have chronic HBV, you should be screened for liver cancer.

Other risk factors

Drinking too much alcohol can cause damage to the liver. Having NAFLD may lead to cirrhosis in people who drink little or no alcohol. NAFLD is seen in obese people or those with diabetes, high cholesterol, and a few other conditions. Diabetes, obesity, or other problems processing sugar may put someone at risk for liver cancer. Genetic hemochromatosis is an inherited condition that causes the liver to store too much iron from food.

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