Hepatic Neoplasia

Liver is a vital organ and is present next to the stomach, against the diaphragm in the abdominal cavity.

The liver has numerous functions to perform to maintain health and metabolism. Some of the major functions performed by the liver include:

  • Filtration and detoxification of the blood coming from the intestinal tract and other parts of the body
  • Helps in fat metabolism
  • Aids in sugar metabolism
  • Produces bile which is stored in the gall bladder that emulsifies the fats.
  • Synthesis of vitamins and proteins
  • Immune regulation

Since the liver receives a huge amount of blood for detoxification and filtration, this puts the liver predisposed to developing inflammation and tumors.

Tumors can be of two types:

  • Primary tumors
  • Metastatic tumors

In the case of a primary tumor, the tumor grows in the liver and stays there. Hepatocellular carcinoma is an example of a primary tumor. While metastatic tumors are more common and spread to other organs of the body too. As the blood flows to the liver for gaining nutrients, it also carries the cancerous cells from the liver and spread them throughout the body. Symptoms of liver cancer are ambiguous and include loss of appetite, weight loss, and jaundice. Diagnosis is made based on physical examination, blood work, abdominal ultrasound, and eventually a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment depends on the type of tumor and the severity of the disease. In the case of the primary tumor, the surgical removal of the tumor is required while in the case of metastatic tumor, chemotherapy can help in slowing down the growth and spread of the tumor.