Liver cancer or hepatic cancer is a cancer that originates in the liver. Liver cancers are
malignant tumors that grow on the surface or inside the liver.
There are many forms of liver cancer, although many cancers found in the liver are
metastases from other tumors.
The most frequent liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma. About 4 of 5 cancers that
start in the liver are this type. HCC can have different growth patterns; some begin as a
single tumor that grows larger. Only late in the disease does it spread to other parts of the
liver. A second type seems to start as many small cancer nodules throughout the liver, not
just a single tumor. This is seen most often in people with cirrhosis and is the most
common pattern seen in the United States.
A risk factor is anything that affects your chance of getting a disease, such as cancer.
Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be
changed. Others, like a person's age or family history, can't be changed.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is much more common in males than in females.
The most common risk factor for liver cancer is chronic infection with hepatitis B virus
or hepatitis C virus. These infections lead to cirrhosis of the liver and are responsible for
making liver cancer the most common cancer in many parts of the world.
In the United States, infection with hepatitis C is the more common cause of HCC, while in Asia and developing countries, hepatitis B is more common. People infected with both
viruses have a very high risk of developing chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
Heavy Alcohol abuse is also a main risk factor and it leads to cirrhosis, Cirrhosis is a
disease in which liver cells become damaged and are replaced by scar tissue. People with
cirrhosis have an increased risk of liver cancer. And most of people who develop liver
cancer already have some evidence of cirrhosis. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a
condition in which people who consume little or no alcohol develop a fatty liver, is
common in obese people. People with a type of this disease known as non-alcoholic
steatohepatitis might go on to develop cirrhosis. There are several possible causes of
cirrhosis. Most cases in the United States occur in people who abuse alcohol or have
chronic HBV or HCV infections.
Another risk factor is use of anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are male hormones used
by some athletes to increase their strength and muscle mass. Long-term anabolic steroid
use can slightly increase the risk of hepatocellular cancer.
And smoking also is a big risk factor, many people believe that smoking is one of main
cause of liver cancer. Although several risk factors for hepatocellular cancer are known,
exactly how these factors cause normal liver cells to become cancerous is only partially
Cancers develop when the DNA of cells is damaged. DNA is the chemical in each of our
cells that makes up the instructions for how our cells function. Some genes have
instructions for controlling when cells grow, divide into new cells, and die, and are called
oncogenes. Genes that slow down cell