What is Hepatocellular Carcinoma?
Hepatocellular Carcinoma begins in hepatocytes, which are cells of the liver responsible for many metabolic functions. The cancer is characterized by adenocarcinoma cancer cells and the disease is more aggressive than other liver cancers due to hepatocytes have during access to blood vessels. There are more than 30,000 cases per year. The overall survival rate for 5 years after diagnosis is a mere 10%. Although rare in general, hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of liver cancer. The other subtypes of liver cancer include:
- Intrahepatic bile duct carcinoma
Hepatocellular Carcinoma Symptoms
In some patients, hepatocellular carcinoma does not cause any symptoms. However, some people will have mild pain in the abdomen, fatigue, and weight loss. Symptoms occur more often in later stages of the disease, especially when the cancer has metastasized to the tissues surrounding the liver. These patients may experience jaundice or unexplained weight loss. Due to there not being a specific screening test designed for liver cancer and a lack of early-stage symptoms, many patients are not diagnosed until the cancer is in advanced stages.
What Causes Hepatocellular Carcinoma?
While the exact cause of liver cancer is unknown, there are several conditions known to lead to hepatocellular carcinoma. In many cases, liver cancer is caused by long-term damage and scarring of the liver, which often occurs from cirrhosis. Cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma can stem from the following reasons:
- Long-term alcohol abuse
- Autoimmune diseases in the liver
- Hepatitis B or C
- Overload of iron
- Long-term liver inflammation
Hepatocellular Carcinoma Risk Factors
The main risk factor of liver cancer is any long-term diseases of the liver. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can cause scarring of the liver which can eventually lead to cancer of the liver. Like other cancer types, continuous consumption of alcohol in large amounts can eventually lead to cancer of the liver. Finally, chronic inflammation of the liver put patients at risk for Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Most patients are over the age of 50 at the time of diagnosis. The disease occurs more often in men than women.
Hepatocellular Carcinoma Prevention
There is no way to guarantee someone will prevent hepatocellular carcinoma from developing, but several steps can be taken to reduce your risk:
- Avoid use of alcohol and tobacco
- Maintain a healthy weight by having a balanced diet
- Treating any current liver diseases
- Avoid harmful chemicals and cancer-causing agents
Hepatocellular Carcinoma Treatment
Common treatment methods for Hepatocellular Carcinoma include:
- Surgery to remove the tumor (Early-stage patients)
- Liver transplant for cases that haven’t metastasized
- Ablation procedure (Extreme heat or cold)
- Chemotherapy, can be given before or after surgery
- Radiation therapy
- Immunotherapy or targeted therapies can be given as palliative care
Hepatocellular Carcinoma Clinical Trials
There are approximately 435 clinical trials for Hepatocellular Carcinoma that are currently patients in the United States right now. With such an extensive list, many of them could be beneficial for you. Our team of patient advocates, who are oncology nurses, and our artificial intelligence based clinical trial matching system will find the best option for you.
With just a few clicks, you can see your clinical trial matches now. Click here to use our advanced clinical trial match tool.
How Do We Help Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients?
Massive Bio offers an independent cancer treatment analysis as well as free clinical trial matching for hepatocellular carcinoma patients. Our patient advocates work closely with patients to gather information on their current medical status, and then will provide a list of options from available cancer clinical trials close to your home.
We can also provide a comprehensive case analysis through our Virtual Tumor Board from cancer specialists. The Virtual Tumor Board (VTB) is comprised of highly specialized oncologists from nationally-recognized Cancer Centers of Excellence. In just 7-10 days after receiving your medical records, we can get you a treatment plan without having to travel far distances and use your valuable time.