Know the Liver Cancer Risks and Latest Research Advancements

Aware of the Disease and the Risks:

Liver cancer otherwise known as hepatic cancer, starts primarily in the liver and the most common type is hepatocellular carcinoma. Worldwide, there are many risk factors responsible for this.

  • Cirrhosis, a condition in which liver cells become damaged and are replaced by scar tissue and the liver does not function properly, leads to liver cancer;
  • Chronic infection with hepatitis B and C virus that leads to cirrhosis;
  • Birth defects;
  • Excessive alcohol intake.;
  • Obesity and Diabetes – excess fat being deposited in the liver.

In the United States, the common cause of liver cancer is infection with hepatitis C.

What are the symptoms?

Signs and symptoms not to be felt until the later stages of the disease. Some of the most common symptoms are unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, an enlarged liver, swelling and pain in the abdomen, itching, nausea or vomiting, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), back pain.

How to diagnose?

It can be diagnosed through a blood test, ultrasound, imaging scans like MRI or CT scan or through biopsy. Ultrasound is the first test with the usage of sound waves to create an image of tumors growing in the liver on a video screen. A small sample of the tumor cells removed to conduct a biopsy test to confirm.

Latest Research Advancements:

With the advancement in the medical technology, continuous research going on in treating liver cancer. Though removal of the affected portion through surgery can be an effective form of treatment, it will not work out to all the patients. Scientists are looking out for causes and innovative treatment methods to cure it. Treatment options and recommendations depend on several factors such as the patient’s overall health, the stage of cancer, the severity of the damage caused to the remaining areas of the liver etc. The following areas of research may include new advanced options for patients through clinical trials.

Brachytherapy – In this advanced method, catheters are placed directly in the tumor giving a high radiation dose to the tumor wherein the radiation exposure in the surrounding healthy tissues will be reduced and will not create any harm.

Chemotherapy advances – Newer therapies are targeted only to destroy specific cancer cells. Instead of giving chemo alone, it is given along with combination therapy that can shrink a tumor to enable doctors to perform surgery safely.

Ablation Techniques – Instead of removing the tumor, this ablation therapy kills it with hot or cold energy.

Liver Transplant – This is an effective treatment where a surgery is performed to replace a diseased liver with a healthier one from a donor.

Can this disease be preventable? – Obviously it can be preventable. The most significant risk factor for this, is chronic infection with HBV and HCV viruses which can be spread by sharing contaminated needles and also by having unprotected sex. Excessive alcohol consumption is also one of the main causes. You can lower your risk by adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, weight control, and a healthy diet. It is also important to avoid infection with the hepatitis viruses.

Increase Awareness to Prevent:

Liver cancer is treatable and sometimes even curable when it is detected early. So it is important to be aware of the risk factors and also the latest treatment options. Organize an awareness campaign in your community to make people understand about the disease, the importance of early diagnosis and the preventive measures to be adopted. To increase exposure and awareness, support your campaign with some awareness giveaway gifts. Though there are many products available in the market, using customized items like silicone wristbands with an awareness message will go a long way. You will get these in different colors, fonts, sizes, and styles and people love to wear these stylish and fashion accessories on a daily basis.

Cancer Risks From Tanning

Tanning can increase the risk of skin cancer and with our fast paced lifestyles we can sometimes not think about the ill effects of convenience. Tanning beds are made from plutonium, some types of radium and UV rays that mimic the sun. Excessive tanning also breaks down DNA in the skin cells, dries it out, reduces elasticity and makes the skin look like leather. Women who use a tanning bed twice a month or more are seventy five percent more likely to develop a malignant melanoma.

There was a time when tanning beds were thought to be a safe alternative to natural tanning. This is no longer the case. A report from the National Cancer Institute shows over one million people are diagnosed with Melanoma in the United States every year. Americans over the age of sixty five are twice as likely to have melanoma as people who are younger.

Individuals who expose themselves to artificial and ultraviolet rays on a long term basis greatly increase the risk of getting skin cancer. Why risk your health or spend your money on tanning methods that can adversely affect your health. Even if you don’t use a tanning bed more than once a month you will be exposed to harsh chemicals and toxic residues that are used to clean the tanning bed. These solutions can cause rashes, allergic reactions, itching and skin irritations.

If the tanning bed isn’t cleaned properly, patrons run the risk of catching an infection from bacterial buildup. To avoid this problem many women have turned to tanning lotions and sprays. These are not always safe either as they contain chemicals which can block the pores of the skin and cause irritation.

The best way to avoid skin cancer is to limit your time in the sun, wear clothing that will block out harmful rays, avoid tanning beds and keep your skin moisturized. If you notice any lumps, skin sore that won’t heal, bumps under your skin, or a mole that has changed color, size or shape seek medical attention immediately.

Your health care professional will examine your skin, take x-rays and do a biopsy of the area if needed. These tests will help the doctor determine if you have a melanoma or a benign tumor. Fortunately skin cancer is one of the easier cancers to remove and cure. Most patients make a full recovery without any further complications.