A healthy liver helps your body by filtering toxins. Liver cancer is a disease where cancerous cells are found in the liver. It is usually an advanced stage of liver disease and can be challenging to treat and manage.
Common symptoms of liver damage or cancer may include:
- Unexplained and unintended weight loss (without trying)
- Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Loss of appetite or feeling full after a small meal
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Enlarged liver
- Enlarged spleen
- Abdominal pain
If you have risk factors that may contribute to liver cancer, such as liver disease, inflammation or infection or conditions that may harm the liver such as fatty liver, cirrhosis or hepatitis B/C, your best prevention tip is to get yourself checked for early detection. Here are a few other tips:
Treat conditions that increase the risk of liver cancer.
Because inherited diseases can cause cirrhosis of the liver, raising a person’s risk levels of developing liver cancer, screening for and diagnosing these problems as early as possible in life may help prevent liver cancer.
Patients, for example, with hereditary hemochromatosis are at higher risk of developing liver cancer than those whose family medical histories don’t involve hemochromatosis. Treatment of hemochromatosis now could save you from liver cancer later down the road.
Quit or limit alcohol consumption and tobacco use.
Cirrhosis of the liver, which may lead to liver cancer, is heavily associated with excessive alcohol consumption. Therefore, if you cannot quit drinking altogether, try drinking in moderation.
Smoking has been linked to many forms of cancer, including liver cancer. Quitting today can already start to lower your risk for liver cancer, along with other cancers and life-threatening conditions.
Reduce your exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.
Benzene, beryllium, asbestos, vinyl chloride and arsenic are all known carcinogens, which means prolonged or constant exposure to them may lead to the development of cancer. You may be at higher risk of being exposed to these carcinogens if you live or work in industrial environments.
However, you should also be aware of indoor toxins that put your health at risk, such as asbestos and radon.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Another approach to avoid liver cancer is to keep obesity at bay. Obese individuals are more prone to developing fatty liver disease and diabetes, both of which have been linked to liver cancer.
To achieve a healthy weight, eat right and exercise regularly. Avoid a diet that is not only bad for the liver but may also lead to obesity, such as one heavy in sugar, preservatives, processed meats and fried foods.
Get screened regularly.
If you are high-risk for liver cancer, have long-standing cirrhosis or a family history of the disease, are obese or live with a chronic infection, regular screenings may help prevent liver cancer.
According to The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), if you have a liver disease, liver cancer screening, including an ultrasound, should be performed every six months.
If you are at high risk for liver cancer, contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology today. We believe in the early detection of liver cancer by offering cancer screening programs and education to the Tampa, Florida community through involvement and support at local events.
More than a thousand men and women diagnosed with cancer each year turn to our trusted team of cancer specialists. We encourage you to call us, ask us a question or consult with us to get a second opinion so you, too, can experience the difference.