Liver Cancer - Describe Your Experience

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What is primary cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC)?

Primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) is a cancer arising from the liver. It is also known as primary liver cancer or hepatoma. The liver is made up of different cell types (for example, those which compromise the bile ducts, blood vessels, and fat-storing cells). However, liver cells (hepatocytes) make up 80% of the liver tissue. Thus, the majority of primary liver cancers arise from liver cells and is called hepatocellular cancer or carcinoma.

When patients or physicians speak of liver cancer, however, they are often referring to cancer that has spread to the liver, having originated in other organs (such as the colon, stomach, pancreas, breast, and lung). More specifically, this type of liver cancer is called metastatic liver disease (cancer) or secondary liver cancer. This is a much more common problem around the world than primary liver cancer and frequently leads to confusion, because the term liver cancer actually can refer to either metastatic liver cancer or hepatocellular cancer. The subject of this article is hepatocellular carcinoma, which I will now refer to as liver cancer.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: ispguy, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: December 17

My dad passed from primary hepatocellular carcinoma at the age of 81. This is a horrible disease. The last pictures I have of him he looks like a skeleton. His primary care found a spot on his liver and insisted it was not cancer. My mother knew it was. This is a very hard illness to diagnose, as it is not caught until it has caused damage beyond repair. The cancer spread into his bile ducts and he had numerous surgeries to insert stents. The cancer still clogged the stents. I remember telling my mom that he was bleeding out of the drain that he had. This was three days before his passing. I am thankful that he did not suffer too much physical pain; mentally it was horrible. He would go to the hospital every other week and be seen by the 10 doctors who were treating him. Eventually they said there was nothing else they could do. It was at this point he went on hospice. He died about one month later.

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Comment from: Elias, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: April 17

My brother was diagnosed with liver cancer on the 5th November 2013 when he was 38 years old and a hardworking man. There was difficulty diagnosing the 4 spots on his liver, for nothing showed that he had any illness. A month after being diagnosed he was put on chemotherapy drug called Nexavar, it is a pill form therapy. It worsened his condition and the treatment was subsequently stopped. He lost a lot of weight and also was hospitalized numerous times. For us as his family it was awful to witness the pain he had to go through. Cancer was like an enemy in our minds, it made sure we started attacking each other. Cancer does not care how old you are, how rich you are, what kind of talents you have; it kills in the utmost ugliest manner you can think of. My brother died after he fought a life battle; he came out the winner because he showed what a fighter he was. He died on the 13th April 2014.

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