Liver cancer is one of the common cancers affecting patients all around the world. In the same time, it is a quite resilient one – liver cancer
Liver cancer is one of the common cancers affecting patients all around the world. In the same time, it is a quite resilient one – liver cancer survival rates are low. Therefore, it is important to respond to any symptoms of liver cancer as soon as they appear. Liver cancer is usually a result of chronic liver diseases and as such, it is easy to estimate who is at risk of getting it. Then, a cancer treatment, usually involving chemotherapy and radiation therapy, may start.
The relations between liver cirrhosis and cancer are well-known and most of the doctors suggest regular screenings for signs of liver cancer to their patients. There are no clear symptoms of liver cancer apart from a feeling of fullness during eating, abdominal pain, and loss of weight or appetite, which may be attributed to other illnesses as well. It is important to come for regular screenings if your doctor claims that you are in the risk group.
As in other types of cancer, chemotherapy treatment combined with radiotherapy treatment is primary means of fighting the liver cancer, especially in its later stages. Some patients due to their overall state of health and other medical conditions may not take well those liver cancer treatments.
There is no routine preparation for chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It is important to lead a healthy lifestyle before your liver cancer treatment begins. Additionally, it is advised to inform your oncologist about all medical conditions you have and medicines taken by you. In this way, your cancer therapy may be tailored according to your needs and capability.
Liver resection is possible only in the stage 1 liver cancer. In the later stages, it is not practiced due to its being highly ineffective. Instead, a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy is used as a standard liver cancer treatment.
• In chemotherapy treatment, strong drugs are used to kill cancer cells. Drugs used in chemotherapy may be injected or swallowed as a pill.
• In radiotherapy treatment, the patient receives a dose of radiation in two possible ways: external radiation therapy includes using a special machine which emits radiation from the outside. Internal radiation therapy means that radioactive elements are injected into the blood stream.
Using radiation therapy and chemotherapy for liver cancer is not a one-time treatment but a series of sessions with a tight schedule.
Chemotherapy recovery as well as radiation therapy recovery is a long process, which can take months or even years. While using these techniques as a liver cancer treatment is effective in prolonging the life of a patient, they have many side effects which can be felt for a long time after this treatment finished.
Using radiotherapy treatment and chemotherapy for liver cancer may be connected with many complications such as:
• Lung problems
• Heart problems
• Damage to other organs
• Nerve damage
However, these risks are manageable with medications and are worth taking due to liver cancer treatment’s effectiveness in prolonging one’s life.
Similarly to risks and complications, the side effects of liver cancer treatment constitute a rather long list. These are, among others:
• Memory and concentration problems
• General feeling of weakness and being constantly tired
• Nausea and vomiting
Most of the patients who undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment get used to coping with these side effects. However, not all of them are experienced by all people who undergo liver cancer treatment.
Liver cancer is a hard to fight one. For this reason, liver cancer survival rate is low compared to some other types of cancer. Stage 1 liver cancer patients have a 5-year survival rate of 50-70%. Stage 2 liver cancer success rate is thought to be about 20 months, while stage 3 liver cancer patients live with chemotherapy and radiation therapy for the average of 6 to 11 months. In the stage 4 liver cancer doctors focus on easing the pain since there is no effective treatment.
While liver cancer treatment has many side effects and may cause complications due to the power of drugs used during it, still chemotherapy and radiation therapy guarantee a longer life and in the stage 1 liver cancer – may help eradicate it along with liver resection.