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Stunning Liver Cancer Survival Rates

January 24, 2022
Est. Reading: 3 minutes

Liver Cancer Survival Rates

Liver cancer is classified as cancer beginning in the cells of the liver. The liver is a football-sized organ located in the upper right portion of the abdomen, beneath the diaphragm, above the stomach.

Though many types of cancer may form in the liver, the most common type is called hepatocellular carcinoma, beginning in the hepatocyte, the main type of liver cell. Less common liver cancer include intrahepatic, cholangiocarcinoma, and hepatoblastoma.

Causes of Liver Cancer

Liver cancer usually occurs when liver cells undergo changes or mutations in their DNA. The causes of liver cancer are sometimes unknown, such as the case with chronic hepatitis infections. In other instances, liver cancer develops in individuals with no underlying illness, leaving it unclear as to what causes cancer.

causes of liver cancerliver cancer treatment

Other causes of liver cancer include cigarette smoking, responsible for more than 50% of cases; obesity, excessive alcohol intake, exposure to aflatoxin (a naturally occurring toxin produced by certain types of mold), hepatitis B and C infections, diabetes, and cirrhosis. Bile duct obstruction, which prevents bile from leaving the liver, may also cause conditions that increase the risk of liver cancer.

Liver Cancer Risk Factors

Certain risk factors make an individual more likely to develop liver cancer. These include:

  • Liver diseases such as cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis
  • Liver damage due to alcohol
  • Excessive intake of certain toxins, including aflatoxin and arsenic
  • Liver inflammation related to autoimmune diseases, including sclerosing cholangitis
  • Liver inflammation related to inflammatory bowel disease
  • Liver damage related to previous treatment with certain cancer drugs
  • Liver tumors, including hemangiomas or adenomas
  • Liver damage due to previous viral hepatitis infection (hepatitis B or C)
  • Obesity and diabetes
  • Being male
  • Age (most often diagnosed between 55 and 65 years old)

Liver cancer occurs about three times more frequently in men than women. Liver tumors are also somewhat more common among males.

Liver Cancer Treatment

There are multiple ways to approach liver cancer treatment. Surgery is the main treatment for liver cancer. In some cases where cancer has not spread beyond the liver, a surgical procedure called a partial hepatectomy may be performed to remove all or part of the cancerous portion of the liver.

liver cancer treatment

In cases where cancer has spread beyond the liver, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are often used in conjunction with surgery to treat liver cancer. For cases in which the disease has not responded adequately to these treatments, new treatments such as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and radioembolization may help shrink tumors and slow the spread of cancerous cells beyond the liver.

In some instances, a liver transplant may be required.

Liver Cancer Survival Rate

Perhaps one of the most important questions is what the liver cancer survival rate is. Liver cancer is one of the major forms of cancer in adults, and the survival rates for liver cancer are considered to be among the lowest according to statistics. However, there have been many significant breakthroughs in this area. This leads to improved chances of survival and what many doctors believe is a realistic opportunity for those diagnosed to live with—and even beyond—cancer.

The survival rate of Liver cancer widely depends on the stage and whether the individual receives treatment.

  • Stage 0: Without treatment, the survival rate for this stage is more than 3 years. With treatment, 70-100% of individuals will survive for 5 years or more.
  • Stage A: Without treatment, the survival rate for this stage is 3 years. With treatment, 50-70% of individuals will survive 5 years or more.
  • Stage B: Without treatment, the survival rate for this stage is 16 months. With treatment, the survival rate is 20 months.
  • Stage C: Without treatment, the survival rate for this stage is between 4 and 8 months. With treatment, the survival rate is between 6 and 11 months.
  • Stage D: Without treatment, the survival rate for this stage is less than 4 months. There are no treatments that work well for this stage of liver cancer.
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