Sources: American Cancer Society; MD Anderson Cancer Center of the University of Texas

LiverCancerRibbonLIVER  cancer is one of the most rapidly increasing cancers in the US, with 22,600 cases of primary liver diagnosed in the United States in 2009.  It is a killer cancer with an overall 5-year survival rate of around 15%. The Liver is an Essential organ and the  largest organ in the body, the liver is pyramid-shaped and located under your right ribs. It has two sections called lobes. The liver essential because you can’t live without it. Some of its important functions are to: Break down and store nutrients from the intestine; Manufacture some of the clotting factors your body needs to stop bleeding; Make bile that helps the intestine absorb nutrients; and, Help get rid of waste.

Liver cancer can begin in the liver as primary liver cancer or can start as cancer somewhere else and metastasize or (spread) to the liver. The liver’s size and high blood flow make it a prime target for cancer cells moving through the bloodstream. Colorectal, breast and lung cancers are the most common primary sources of metastatic liver cancer.

The most common form of primary liver cancer is Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).  As the name suggests, these cancers start at the cellular level and care common in people with liver damage, such as cirrhosis.  Fibrolamellar HCC is a rare subtype that often has a higher chance for successful treatment than other types of liver cancer.  Other types of liver cancer include Bile duct cancers (cholangiocarcinomas) and Angiosarcomas and hemangiosarcomas, which are usually not diagnosed until they are in advanced stages.

Studies have shown that patients with small, resectable tumors (tumors that can be removed), who do not have cirrhosis or other serious health problems, are likely to do relatively well if their cancers are removed.  The overall 5-year survival is over 50%.  For people with early-stage liver cancers who are able to have a liver transplant, the 5-year survival rate is in the range of 60% to 70%.  However, only a small number of liver cancers are found in the early stages and can be removed with surgery.  For all stages combined, the relative 5-year survival rate from liver cancer is about 15%.  One reason for the low survival rate is that most patients with liver cancer also have other liver problems (co-morbitities) such as cirrhosis and metastasis (spread) of cancer.

The Lewis Law Firm has a long history of representing people with liver and other cancer in Philadelphia and New Jersey.  If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with liver cancer, contact the Lewis Law Firm  for a FREE consultation and review of your case, today.