Reduce Your Risk Of Liver Cancer
by Joseph D. Tabora, M.D.
This article starts below.
Liver cancer can be divided into two categories. The first is primary liver cancer, or cancer that originates from the liver cells. The second is metastatic liver cancer, or cancer that originates from another organ and spreads to the liver.
Primary liver cancer
Primary liver cancer, or hepatocellular carcinoma, is commonly diagnosed among patients with cirrhosis. The following items will reduce your risk of liver cirrhosis, and also reduce your risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma:
- Reduce your alcohol consumption. Alcoholic liver cirrhosis is the most common cause of cirrhosis of the liver. Moderate alcohol intake may reduce your risk of heart disease, but excessive consumption will damage the liver and cause cirrhosis. A moderate amount of alcohol is one, or at most two, drinks a day, each one consisting of 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled liquor.
- Get immunized against Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is a viral infection that can be acquired by blood transfusion or exposure to blood from an infected person. Persons infected with Hepatitis B have an increased risk of developing cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. These conditions are irreversible and it is easier (and more prudent) to be protected from the virus by getting immunized. The full immunization consists of three doses of the vaccine.
Metastatic liver cancer
The liver is the most common organ where cancer spreads. Early detection and treatment of cancers of the colon and rectum, breast, and lung, will prevent metastatic cancer to the liver. Here's how you can detect these cancers early:
- Colorectal cancer. Anyone who is 50 years old and above should be screened for colorectal cancer. This cancer, the most common that spreads to the liver, has no symptoms in its early stage, but can be identified by certain screening tests. More information is in the article on preventing advanced colon cancer.
- Screen for breast cancer. Breast cancer may spread to the liver. Fortunately, there are ways to identify breast cancer during its early stage. These methods are described in the article on detecting breast cancer.
- Stop smoking. Lung cancer, the most common cancer, may spread to the liver. Fortunately, cessation of cigarette smoking can reduce the risk of lung cancer.
Your risk of getting primary or metastatic liver cancer will be reduced by following the mentioned preventive measures.