Metastatic Liver Cancer:
What are metastases?
Metastases are cancer cells that have spread beyond the original that is primary cancer site and have established themselves at a distant site. These cancer cells spread through the lymph and vascular systems involved with the primary cancer site also metastases generally indicate that cancer cells are widespread within the lymphatic and circulatory systems in the form of micro metastases which means that the cancer is in the process of spreading to too many areas. In short metastasis is a secondary malignant tumor that has spread from a primary site to affect other parts of the body and also a metastasis in the liver may arise, for example, as a result of the spread of a cancer from another part of the body example colon.
What are the symptoms of metastatic liver cancer?
Metastatic liver cancer most commonly originates in the lung, breast, large intestine, pancreas, or stomach and Leukemia that is a cancer of white blood cells as well as lymphoma that is a cancer of the lymph system may involve the liver.
The common symptoms of metastatic liver cancer includes weight loss and very poor appetite or fever may be also present. Typically, the liver is enlarged and hard and may be tender also swelling abdomen may occur. At first, the person has mild or no jaundice unless the cancer is blocking the bile ducts and later, the abdominal cavity may become swollen with fluid that is a condition called ascites. In the weeks before the person dies, jaundice progressively worsens and also, the person may become confused and drowsy as toxins accumulate in the brain, a condition called liver encephalopathy.
How can it be diagnosed?
The diagnosis is often difficult in the early stages of the disease but becomes fairly easy in the late stages and the metastatic tumors often damage the liver, causing it to malfunction and resulting in abnormal liver function test results. Also ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the liver may reveal the cancer, but these scans cannot always detect small tumors or distinguish a tumor from cirrhosis or other abnormalities.
What are the treatments of metastatic liver cancer?
Depending on the type of cancer, chemotherapy drugs may be used to temporarily shrink the tumor and prolong life, but they do not cure the cancer while Chemotherapy drugs may be injected into the liver's main artery, which then delivers a high concentration of the drugs directly to the cancer cells in the liver. Radiation therapy to the liver can sometimes reduce severe pain but it has little other benefit and surgery usually is not an option.
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