Liver Cancer Screening Exams

Liver cancer is basically a type of cancer that grows in the cells present in your liver. A liver is a football-sized organ positioned in the upper right part of your abdomen, underneath your diaphragm, and above your stomach. Moreover, various kinds of cancers can develop in the liver. Still, the most common kind of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma, which starts in the main sort of level cell (hepatocyte). Even though other forms of liver cancer, like hepatoblastoma, intrahepatic, and cholangiocarcinoma, are not quite common.

Most importantly, cancer that expands to the liver is more common compared to cancer that develops in liver cells. However, cancer that develops in other parts of the body like the lungs, breast, or colon and then expands to the liver is widely known as metastatic cancer instead of liver cancer. It’s named after the organ in which it starts like metastatic colon cancer to explain cancer that grows in the colon and spreads to the liver.

Screening options that are available for liver cancer are testing the blood for a substance known as alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), which may be generated by cancer cells, or having imaging tests such as an ultrasound, computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Conditions that increase your risk

Most people are at high risk when you have chronic hepatitis B infection or cirrhosis of the liver. Below are medical conditions that may, with time, increase your risks for cirrhosis of cancer.

  • Chronic hepatitis C infection
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC)
  • Inherited metabolic disease, including:
    • Hemochromatosis
    • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
    • Glycogen storage disease
    • Porphyria cutanea tarda
    • Tyrosinemia
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

Thus, if you’re suffering from any of these above mentioned conditions, ensure to consult with your doctor. They can check and decide if you need particular exams to evaluate your liver cancer risks and condition further.