Victorian HepatoPancreato Biliary Surgery Group, Malvern Victoria
 
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Liver Conditions

Hepatocellular Carcinoma - HCC (Cancer)

Hepatocellular Carcinoma is a tumour of the liver. Hepatocellular Carcinoma accounts for 80% to 90% of all liver cancers. It occurs more often in men than women and occurs mostly in people 50 to 60 years old. The disease is more common in parts of Africa and Asia than in North and South America and Europe.

  1. General
  2. What causes Hepatocellular Carcinoma?
  3. What will I Experience if I have Hepatocellular Carcinoma?
  4. How is a Hepatocellular Carcinoma diagnosed?
  5. How is a Hepatocellular Carcinoma treated?

1. What is a Hepatocellular Carcinoma?

  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma is a tumour of the liver
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma accounts for 80% to 90% of all liver cancers
  • It occurs more often in men than women and occurs mostly in people 50 to 60 years old
  • The disease is more common in parts of Africa and Asia than in North and South America and Europe

2. What causes Hepatocellular Carcinoma?

  • The cause of liver cancer is unknown

  • Contributing factors include chronic liver disease, viral hepatitis (especially hepatitis B and C), hemochromatosis, known hepatic (liver) carcinogens, and toxins (mycotoxins) found in foods in parts of Africa and Asia

3. What will I Experience if I have Hepatocellular Carcinoma?

  • You may experience nothing at all, but below are some of the symptoms you may experience
  • A steady pain or tenderness in the abdomen, strongest in the right-upper quadrant
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Easy bruising or bleeding in all parts of the body
  • A yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes known as jaundice and your stools may change colour

4. How is a Hepatocellular Carcinoma diagnosed?

  • Physical examination shows an enlarged, tender liver. The doctor will usually follow this up with some blood tests and a urine test

  • The blood test may indicate elevated liver enzymes. This result is often referred to as the liver function test

  • A liver biopsy is the definitive diagnostic test for hepatocellular Carcinoma

  • There may be a mass shown on abdominal CT scan

5. What are the treatment options for Hepatocellular Carcinoma?

Aggressive surgery or liver transplantation may be successful in treating small or slow-growing tumors if they are diagnosed early. The surgical option is usually only available if the tumour is isolated to a specific area of the liver. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments are not usually effective but may be used to shrink large tumors so that surgery has a greater chance of success.

Mr Peter Evans
Mr Peter Evans
MBBS, FRACS, Grad Cert CRM, MPH
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Mr Marty Smith
Mr Marty Smith
BSc BMBS FRACS
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Mr Marty Smith
Mr Charles Pilgrim
MBBS, FRACS, PhD
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