Liver Cancer

bicher-oncology-staff-doctors-photo-session-2015-21Primary liver cancer (cancer that originates in the liver) usually originates in the hepatocyte cells of the liver. The liver is made up of several different types of cells, and hepatocyte cells are the main type of liver cells. Cancer that originates in the hepatocyte cells is known as hepatocellular carcinoma. Liver cancer can originate in some of the other types of cells in the organ, but it is much less common. (Cancer that originates in other organs or tissues in the body and spreads (metastasizes) to the liver is not categorized as liver cancer, it is named after the area of the body where it originated, such as the prostate in men or breast in women).

Symptoms of Liver Cancer

Cancer that originates in the liver does not always present symptoms in the early stages of the disease. As with any cancer diagnosis or illness in general, symptoms can tend to vary from patient to patient and depend on many factors, such as the stage of the cancer and the patient’s overall health.

Some of the general symptoms of liver cancer can include:

  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Appetite loss
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the upper abdomen (the liver is located on the right side of the body, between the diaphragm and the stomach)
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Jaundice (discoloration/yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes)
  • Chalky, pale colored stool

The general symptoms of liver cancer can resemble many other illnesses and do not necessarily indicate cancer, but patients should be aware of their overall health and seek medical attention over any symptoms that seem out of the ordinary, or present cause for concern.

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What are the causes and potential risk factors for primary liver cancer?

As with all cancers, there are some factors that can increase the risk of developing the disease, while some tumors form from genetic mutations and may or may not have a clear source of origin. With liver cancer, certain forms of chronic hepatitis infection can increase a person’s risk of developing cancer in the liver.

Some of the main risk factors that can increase the odds of developing liver cancer include:

  • Hepatitis – Certain forms of the hepatitis virus, such as hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) can potentially increase the risk of developing liver cancer
  • Cirrhosis and alcoholism – Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to progressive liver damage that can predispose a person to developing liver cancer down the road. Cirrhosis causes scarring inside the liver that can increase the risk for developing malignant tumors.
  • Genetic liver disease – Certain hereditary liver conditions such as hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease can increase the risk for liver cancer in some patients.
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Treatment Options for Liver Cancer in Los Angeles

Every patient and diagnosis is different, and therefore the specific treatment option that is most appropriate will vary from patient to patient. The cancer experts at Bicher Cancer Institute in Los Angeles have been using heat therapy (hyperthermia) in conjunction with traditional cancer treatments like radiation to help make cancer cells more responsive to treatment. Contact Bicher Cancer Institute today to learn more about hyperthermia and to schedule an appointment.

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“Fighting cancer with heat is no secret.
But it is an untouched weapon that holds remarkable potential.”

Headshot of James Bicher
James I. Bicher, MD
Founder & CEO,
Bicher Cancer Institute


Are you considering hyperthermia treatment for cancer? Contact the experts at Bicher Cancer Institute today to schedule an appointment or get the answers to any questions you still have.

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