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Liver Cancer

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Liver is the largest organ in our body located right epigastrium that formed in two parts. Liver filters harmful matters from the blood and creates and stores matters that are necessary to maintain life and process elements that are absorbed so it can be used to our body appropriately. Also, it purifies our body along with kidney by eliminate unnecessary matters from our body. But, liver cells get damage when excessive medicines and toxicants are taken and create hepatitis, fatty liver, liver cirrhosis and can grow to be liver cancer. Most of primary liver cancer begins at liver cell and these types of cancer are called hepatoma or malignant liver cancer. When liver cancer get out from liver and transfer, cancer cells spreads to surrounding lymph node, bone and lung and the newly created tumors at this stages are abnormal cells that are same with primary tumor that found in liver. Be contrary to that, cancer created due to cancer cell separated from the cancer that created from other organs spread through blood vessels or lymphatic vessel is called metastatic liver cancer. Due to liver’s characteristic, many numbers of cancers created in organs, especially organs in belly are transmitted to liver easily. Primary liver cancer is classified as hepatoma, bile duct cancer and combine of hepatoma and bile duct cancer and sarcoma depends on which cell the cancer is developed. The most common liver cancer is hepatoma followed by bile duct cancer and most frequent developed liver cancer in Korea is the hepatoma. Speed of liver cancer’s progress is very fast so it is known that people usually survives only 3~4 month after diagnosis if it is not treated.

Liver cancer is the one of diseases that hard to early diagnosis. It is because there are no clear subjective symptoms so many times patients don’t realize it till it is very much advanced. Even when symptoms are finally appeared and liver tissues are being destructed it usually doesn’t exhibit through liver function test so liver is called ‘silent organ’. So, when the size of liver cancer is small, it is hard to know existences of liver cancer just by symptoms. Even when there are some subjective symptoms, many times patients visit hospital after it gets worse just by taking medicines since it is hard to differentiate with benign liver diseases like liver cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis and other stomach related diseases.

General symptoms are the dull pain at right epigastrium, feeling of heavy stomach or swell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, enervation and feeling of tired, weight lose, hypertrophy of liver, jaundice and anemia, hypoglycemia, fever and abdominal bleeding etc and different symptoms appears depending on the organs it has spread. People can spit blood when it is spreads to stomach or esophagus and when it has spread to lung, symptoms like cough and hemoptysis can be presented and headache or palsy can be occur when it has spread to brain. In case of spreading to bone, paralysis of lower half of body can be occur. All these symptoms are common symptoms of lowered of liver functions and normally not occurs on certain kinds of liver cancer.


sic treatment of liver cancer is surgical resection. But with advanced liver cancer, over 80% of liver cancer patients receive non-surgical treatment even with small liver cancer of early stage due to conditions like age of patient, very bad functional liver due to intense liver cirrhosis or can not operate due to location of tumor or numbers of tumor and when patients refuse to have operation. These kinds of non-surgical treatments are continuously improved through technology development and with accumulating clinical demonstration sometimes it exhibits same results as the surgical operation treatments. Procedure with local anesthesia is possible since all these treatment methods are all minimal-invasive so there are no dangers due to general anesthesia or laparotomy and there are merit of fast recover and return to normal life since it is possible to receive treatment as the outpatient or only few days is enough in the case of need of hospitalization. There are Transcatheter Arterial Chemo Embolization, ethanol injection and radiofrequency, laser, microwave and High Intensity Focused Ultrasound applied treatments as for the non-surgical operation liver treatments.

Radiofrequency ablation of liver cencer (RF liver ablation) treatment has been in center of concern ever since it was first presented in 1990 and it is the RF liver cencer treatment method not only being used in Korea, but being used worldwide at present. Under the ultrasonic-guide, locate RF electrode in the tumor then creates radiofrequency by the RF generator, electric current is conducted to surrounding tissue from the end of electrode. This stimulates ion of cancer tissue around RF electrode and created friction heat, and when temperature rise over 50°C, cells get irreversible damage. Compare to ethanol injection method, it have advantage of high complete removing rate and number of medical treatment can be reduced and it exhibits excellent effect on metastatic tumors of the liver.