Did you know that liver cancer (HPC hepatocellular carcinoma) is the sixth most common tumor worldwide and causes approximately 750,000 deaths per year? Cancer is the third cause of death in Mexico. Despite current therapeutic schemes, the prognosis in HPC is poor, with advanced cases having a median survival of approximately one month.
Experts caution that most cases of liver cancer result in cirrhosis. However, in recent years, the problems associated with fatty liver due to metabolic syndrome have increased.
How many types of liver cancer are there
There are three types of liver cancer, with hepatocellular carcinoma being the most common type, it can metastasize, and when it does, it usually goes to nearby lymph nodes and the lungs. Second, but far behind, is cholangiocarcinoma, which originates in the cells of the bile ducts.
Liver cancer is associated with several risk factors. Not everyone with one or more of these risk factors will get the disease.
- Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. HBV is spread through blood, semen, or other body fluids. This infection can spread from mother to child during childbirth or through sexual contact or through sharing needles to inject drugs. This infection sometimes causes inflammation (swelling) in the liver, which leads to cancer. Routine HBV vaccination during breastfeeding reduces the incidence of HBV infection.
- Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, HCV is spread through blood. This infection can be spread by sharing needles for injecting drugs, or less frequently through sexual contact. Earlier, it was also spread during blood transfusion or organ transplant. Blood banks now test all donated blood for HCV, greatly reducing the risk of HCV infection through transfusion.
- cirrhosis, People with cirrhosis have an increased risk of liver cancer, a disease in which healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue. Scar tissue obstructs blood flow through the liver and prevents normal function. Alcoholism and chronic hepatitis infection are common causes of cirrhosis. People with HCV cirrhosis have a higher risk of developing liver cancer than people with HBV cirrhosis or cirrhosis caused by alcohol abuse.
- fatty liver, This pathology is caused by the presence of fat in the liver, which, over time, can damage liver cells, which are replaced by scarring (fibrosis) until cirrhosis develops.
liver cancer prevention
The following are protective factors against liver cancer:
- Avoid drinking alcohol.
- When conditions that increase the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma are already present, tobacco contributes to an increased risk.
- Prevent hepatitis C (don’t share needles or syringes during sex and don’t use condoms) and diagnose all people with the infection so that drugs that effectively kill the virus can be given.
- vaccination against hepatitis B
- Lifestyle changes to prevent fatty liver: Avoid obesity, healthy diet, exercise, control cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Avoid exposure to certain toxins, such as aflatoxin, which can increase your risk of liver cancer. To do this, it is recommended to store food properly and avoid contact with toxic chemicals.
Although liver cancer is silent, early detection can help save lives.
pay attention to the first symptoms
Symptoms of liver cancer include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, abdominal swelling with fluid buildup, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and weakness; However, since they are quite non-specific and usually appear when the tumor has already developed, there is little point affecting their usefulness as a warning sign.
Surveillance and periodic testing of those most at risk have been shown to be effective for early detection and timely treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Ytrium90, a low toxicity therapy
At the Hospital Angels Mosel, Dr. José Luis Ríos Reina and his medical team currently offer a low-toxicity therapy for liver cancer cases: Ytrium90.
“Dosage is individualized for each patient according to results determined by laboratory studies. The emitted radiation is not dangerous for the patient’s companions and special care is not required in this regard”, explains Dr. Rios Reina.
This procedure is primarily designed to treat cancer that started in the liver as well as shrink liver tumors so that patients can undergo surgery or transplant. To optimize therapy, the physician must take into account the functional status of the liver, medical history, and hepatic blood flow. Similarly, involvement of various specialists is also important, such as interventional radiologists, radiotherapists, anesthesiologists and doctors specialized in nuclear medicine.
The procedure is completely ambulatory as the patient can go home three hours after the intervention. Four weeks after the dose, MRI and CT scan should be done to know the result. Although there is a tendency for the tumors to almost disappear, each patient is different, so it is difficult to determine the degree of benefit that may be provided in each case.
It is important to schedule follow-up visits and determine if a second treatment is necessary, as only one lobe is treated at a time, to maximize the outcome of therapy.
Some side effects are: mild tiredness, pain, loss of appetite and feeling almost nauseated. Patients can usually resume activities within 24 hours after receiving a dose.
Currently, Hospital Ángeles Mosel is the only hospital in Mexico certified to perform this procedure.
To know more about this treatment visit this link. We recommend that you schedule an evaluation appointment to find out if you are a candidate for this procedure.
At Hospital Angels Health System, we want a Mexico full of life.