Only cancers that originate in the liver are called liver cancer. There is more than one type of liver cancer, the most common being hepatocarcinoma.
The liver is composed mainly of cells called hepatocytes. There are also other cells, such as those that cover the blood vessels or those that cover the small ducts through which bile circulates, called bile ducts.
Our body is made up of a set of organs, which in turn are made up of cells that divide regularly in order to replace those that have aged or died, thereby maintaining the integrity and proper functioning of the various organs.
This process is regulated by a series of mechanisms that signal to the cell when to start dividing and when to remain stable. When any of these control mechanisms is disturbed, cell proliferation gets out of control and cancer develops. Depending on the type of cell that is altered, several types of tumours can develop in the liver, which will have a different cause, treatment and prognosis.
Liver cancer in the early stages usually has no symptoms. The most common symptoms are loss of weight and appetite, vomiting, weakness, abdominal swelling, pain in the upper abdomen, jaundice and whitish stools.
Factors that increase the possibility of developing liver cancer include chronic infection whit hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus, cirrhosis, hereditary liver diseases (hemochromatosis and Wilson´s disease), diabetes and excessive alcohol cosumption, among others.
Treatment for liver cancer depends on the extend of the cancer. They may include surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted treatments, radiation therapy or a combination of these.
The Service's team of professionals accompanies cancer patients throughout the whole disease process.
A clinical trial is a research study carried out on people with the aim of learning more about how the body reacts to certain treatments. These trials generally seek to find drugs that are more effective than the current best therapeutic option for patients, or that have similar efficacy but a better toxicity profile.
Bearing in mind that almost all currently available treatments are the result of clinical research, the importance of clinical trials is obvious.
The IVO has a clinical trials unit for all types of tumours and participates in phase 1-3 studies as well as other types of studies.
Whether you receive the news of an initial diagnosis of cancer or a relapse, coping with cancer can be emotionally overwhelming. Each person has their own way of coping with a liver cancer diagnosis, but there are some recommendations that can help you through this process: