Hepatoma

A hepatoma is a cancer that starts in the liver. It is the most common type of cancer originating in the liver.

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Symptoms

The first signs of the disease may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Large mass that can be felt in the upper right section of the abdomen

People who have had cirrhosis for a long time may also experience:

  • Sudden feeling of illness
  • Fever
  • Sudden abdominal pain and shock (very low blood pressure) caused by a rupture or bleeding of the tumor

 

Causes and Risk Factors

Risk factors for hepatoma include:

  • Long-standing cases of cirrhosis (severe scarring of the liver)
  • Chronic infection with hepatitis B
  • Chronic infection with hepatitis C
  • Certain food fungi
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Diagnosis

At first, symptoms may not offer clues that the disease is present. When the person has had cirrhosis for a long time and a tumor can be felt in the abdomen, the doctor will suspect hepatoma.

Other ways to detect the disease include:

  • Ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT) scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)scans
  • Liver biopsy. For this, a small sample of tissue is taken for examination under a microscope.
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Treatments

The survival rate for people with hepatoma is poor. This is because the tumor is usually discovered at a later stage.

Treatment options include:

  • Surgery, if the tumor is small
  • Chemotherapy. This can slow the growth of the tumor but not cure the cancer