Liver and Intrahepatic bile duct cancer
The types of cancer which
affect organs which interact closely with other organs are of particular concern because of their ability to spread
the cancer to other parts of the body. Such is the case with liver and
intrahepatic bile duct cancer. This type of cancer is one of the most
common throughout the world but not in the US. But it is still one of
the top 10 deadliest cancers in the US with 79,773 lives lost due to the illness from 2003 through
2007. Despite advances in treatment, each year almost 20,000
people die from the disease in the US. New cases and deaths from liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer in
the United States in 2012 have been estimated 28,720 and 20,550 successively.
common type of liver cancer is called hepatocellular carcinoma. It
is more prevalent in men and usually occurs in people over the age of 50. This type of liver cancer differs from metastatic liver cancer which starts in
another part of the body such as the breast or colon and spreads to the liver. And sometimes liver cancer may be caused by scarring of the
liver. This is called cirrhosis and can be caused by alcohol
abuse; autoimmune deficiency; hepatitis infection; chronic inflammation of the liver; and excess iron in the
symptoms of the disease can include abdominal pain or discomfort; a tendency to bruise or bleed easily; an
enlarged abdomen; or yellow skin or eyes.
diagnostic tests which may be performed begin with a physical exam.
Other tests might include an abdominal CT scan; abdominal ultrasound; liver biopsy to test the tissue for the
presence of cancer cells; liver function tests; liver MRI; among others.
often depends on the type and severity of the disease. If the
disease is diagnosed early enough, aggressive surgery or a liver transplant may be successful in treating any
small or slow growing tumors. Unfortunately few patients realize
they have the disease until it is much further along. Chemotherapy
may be used with the chemicals introduced straight into the liver.
And radiation therapy to treat the tumors in localized areas can help as well. A new drug called Nexavar has been shown to block tumor growth in advanced
Bile duct cancer originates in one of the bile ducts which carry bile from the liver to the small
intestine. This type of cancer is typically slow growing and does
not tend to spread easily. However it is also not easily identified
in the early stages.
tends to affect both men and women and is more common in people over 65. The risk factors associated with this disease include the presence of bile
duct cysts; chronic biliary irritation; a history of infection from a parasitic worm; or ulcerative
This type of
cancer is rare and occurs only in 2 out of every 100,000 people.
The typical symptoms of this disease can include chills; fever; general itching over the body; a loss of
appetite; unexplained weight loss; and the presence of jaundice.
The types of
diagnostic tests used are similar to those used when liver cancer is suspected.
goal of treatment for this disease is to remove or reduce the tumor and its associated blockage of the bile
duct. This is done through surgery whenever
possible. If the tumor is small enough and localized, the
removal can result in a cure. If it is more widespread than
other measures need apply.
is often used after surgery to reduce the risk of the cancer redeveloping. And radiation therapy has shown benefit as well.