Liver cancer is a very serious disease that can be fatal within a year of being diagnosed for some patients. This is because the symptoms you will notice with liver cancer won't usually appear until it has become a serious medical condition. There are two major types and they are called hepatocellular and metastatic.
Metastatic liver cancer will start in a different part of the body such as the colon, breast, stomach, lungs and pancreas. It will then spread to the liver.
There is a type of liver cancer that is most commonly found in women and it's called cholangiocarcinoma. Sometimes it's referred to as bile duct cancer because it starts in the cells that line the bile ducts.
Hepatocellular cancer is often called carcinoma or hepatoma and it is cancer that starts in the cells that are found directly in the liver. This type of liver cancer can spread to other organs but it doesn't always do so. Men are more prone to this type and anyone that suffers with cirrhosis is at high risk for this disease. Approximately ninety to ninety-five percent of liver cancer begins from liver cells.
When a person has liver cancer, doctors will classify them in terms of stages that describe the size of the cancerous tumor and how much it has spread.
There are four basic stages of liver cancer and they are listed below:
In the first stage it starts as a tumor less than two centimeters long.
In the third stage the cancer is affecting the blood vessels and there may be more than one tumor.
By the time it reaches the third stage the tumor has normally grown to about five centimeters and it has begun to spread to the blood vessels. In this stage it usually is spreading to the organs that are nearby such as the stomach and bowels. Soon it will begin to spread to the lymph nodes.
By stage four the cancer has started to spread further out in the body.
Once a doctor determines which stage it is in, they will be able to determine the best treatment options.
It's important to know that liver cancer is one of the most serious forms of cancer around partly because it has already spread so much before symptoms occur.
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