Liver cancer is now among the fastest-growing cancers in terms of incidence, especially in India. Risk factors for liver cancer include chronic infection with hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus, cirrhosis, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity, diabetes and genetic metabolic syndrome, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, etc. Liver cancer is one of the top causes of cancer mortality, however, timely diagnosis and treatment can lead to better management of the condition, thereby improving survival rate of the patient.
What is Liver Cancer?
Liver cancer is cancer that occurs in the liver cells. Also called hepatic cancer, liver cancer can sometimes start in the liver itself (primary liver cancer) or spread from another part of the body (secondary liver cancer). Secondary liver cancer, which is called liver metastases, is much more common than primary liver cancer. Several types of cancer can form in the liver, with hepatocellular carcinoma being the most common type of liver cancer. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) develops from the hepatocytes, which are the main liver cells. Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatoblastoma are other types of liver cancer that are much less common.
Like many kinds of cancer, liver cancer has a favourable prognosis when the disease has been caught in its early stage and treated promptly. The Liver Clinic at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, offers exceptional expertise for liver cancer treatment. With its state-of-the-art medical care for patients with hepatic tumours through a multi-disciplinary team of experts in the field of hepatic oncology, the Centre’s Liver Cancer Program is ranked among the best in the nation.
Fortis Mumbai - Best Hospital for Liver Cancer Treatment in India
Fortis Hospitals, Mumbai, offers comprehensive care for all stages of liver cancer. As one of the nation’s leading centres, the facility houses some of the finest specialists who have unique and deep expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of liver cancer. Besides world-class facilities, the centre is well-equipped with the most modern technology, ranging from high-end diagnostic to therapeutic endoscopic procedures, interventional radiological procedures like RFA, TACE etc, and surgical interventions such as laparoscopic & robot-assisted liver surgeries to liver transplantation.
At Fortis Mumbai, treatment plans are personalised for each patient’s case, which includes the most current advanced therapies. Patients have access to psychosocial and mental well-being support, health education and advanced care throughout their clinical journey, enabling a longer and better quality of life. Our surgeons adopt the latest methods to perform a large number of delicate liver cancer surgeries each year, with the best clinical and surgical outcomes, at par with international standards. We understand that a multi-disciplinary approach is the most effective way to care for liver cancer patients.
What are the signs and symptoms of liver cancer?
Most people do not have symptoms of primary liver cancer until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage, resulting in poor treatment outcomes. The signs and symptoms, when they do appear, may include:
Upper abdominal pain, discomfort, or tenderness
Feeling full after a small meal
Loss of appetite
Nausea and vomiting
Unexplained weight loss
Pale, chalky stools
Bruising or bleeding easily
Liver Cancer Diagnosis
Tests and procedures that are being used to diagnose liver cancer include:
Blood tests: Blood tests such as a liver function test may be recommended to check on liver enzymes, proteins, and other substances that may reveal organ function abnormalities. You may also need alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test if the doctor thinks you may have liver cancer. High AFP levels can be a sign of liver cancer.
Imaging tests: Your doctor may recommend imaging tests such as abdominal ultrasounds, CT scans, MRI scans, or PET-CT to get a clear picture of the liver. These scans can provide information about liver tumour size, location and whether cancer has spread to other organs.
Liver biopsy: A liver biopsy is the most reliable way to confirm a diagnosis of liver cancer. A biopsy will be required in lesions which are not very characteristic of imaging. It is important to note that with newer imaging methods, very small masses are easier to identify and diagnose correctly.
The care team at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, uses diagnosis information to develop a treatment plan that’s just right for you. Along with a diagnosis, our specialists will find out the stage of cancer – staging is critical as it helps your care team determine your best treatment options and prognosis. The most advanced stage of liver cancer is stage 4.
Liver Cancer Treatments
The range of treatments offered to patients with liver cancer include:
Surgery: Either surgical resection (removal of the tumour with surgery) or a liver transplant is the best option to cure liver cancer. Surgical options may include:
Partial hepatectomy: It is performed to remove part of the liver in people with early-stage liver cancer who have a good liver function and are healthy enough to undergo surgery.
Liver transplant surgery: A liver transplant may be the best option for some people with early-stage liver cancer. With underlying chronic liver disease (CTP score B or C), a successful transplant can restore normal liver function and reduce the risk of cancer returning. Generally, a liver transplant can be performed in patients who have a tumour smaller than 5 cm or 2-3 tumours no larger than 3cm that has not spread to nearby blood vessels.
For advanced disease, treatments may vary depending on the type of liver cancer and may include the following options:
Ablative therapy: Ablation involves using intense heat (RFA) or cold, or ethanol injections to destroy cancer cells.
Embolisation: This blocks or reduces the blood flow to the tumour.
Chemoembolisation: Chemotherapy drugs are injected into blood vessels to block the blood flow to the tumour.
Radiation therapy: This treatment uses beams of high-energy radiation to shrink to kill cancer cells.
Chemotherapy: This type of treatment uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It can be administered in pill form or through a vein in the arm.
Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy uses drugs - such as sorafenib, lenvatinib - designed to ‘target’ cancer cells without affecting the healthy cells.
Immunotherapy: This type of treatment uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Immunotherapy drugs can help the body’s immune system recognise and attack cancer cells.
Palliative or supportive care: A specialised medical care that can be used along with other aggressive treatments and focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms.
Liver Cancer Specialist Team at Fortis Mumbai
Our multi-disciplinary team consists of experts across several medical specialities to give you the best treatment plan and care:
Well-trained nurses, nutritionists, physiotherapists, psychologists, and social workers, etc.
Our team of experts collaborates closely with intensive care specialists, anaesthetists, infectious diseases specialists and other medical professionals, leading to focused comprehensive care.
Why Choose Fortis Hospital Mumbai for Liver Cancer Treatment in Mumbai, India?
At the Fortis Hospital, Mulund Liver Clinic, the goal of the treatment is to cure cancer and help patients have the best possible quality of life by implementing the most current advanced therapies. Our experts in the field of oncology, hepatology, surgery, radiology, radiation oncology and transplant work closely to form a team of specialists to determine the best treatment plan for each patient’s unique needs. We work to ensure that patients have access to innovative techniques and new drugs. Our Liver Clinic also offers comprehensive follow-up care for all patients with liver cancer.
When surgery isn’t the best option, our interventional radiologists will perform minimally invasive techniques to help you get rid of tumours. Our Liver hospital is a ‘one-stop’ clinic that offers world-class treatment and care while eliminating multiple appointments with different specialists at various locations in the Mumbai region.
Visit our Best Liver Cancer Hospitals in Mumbai, India
Seek medical attention if you have any of these symptoms or problems that concern you so that you receive a proper diagnosis and treatment if required, and incidentally diagnosed lesions in the liver or gallbladder on ultrasonography. Get in touch with a liver cancer specialist in Mumbai by booking an appointment online.
How do doctors diagnose liver cancer?
If your doctor or healthcare provider notices that you have symptoms that could be caused by liver cancer during a physical exam, you’ll be referred to a specialist for tests. At Fortis Hospital, Mulund, a leading hospital in Mumbai, our experts have access to the latest technology and specialised techniques to improve diagnosis and care. For instance, our radiologists use advanced liver imaging, while our surgeons are highly experienced in performing minimally invasive surgery.
What increases your risk of liver cancer?
Your risk of getting liver cancer depends on many things, including age, genetics, certain conditions, lifestyle and environmental factors. Factors that can put you at risk of developing liver cancer include:
Age > 60 years
Excessive alcohol consumption
Exposure to aflatoxins – poisons produced by molds that grow on grains, peanuts, and corn.
Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus
Cirrhosis of liver
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Certain inherited liver diseases such as hemochromatosis, tyrosinemia, and Wilson’s disease, etc
A family history of liver cancer.
What to do/know when you’re diagnosed with liver cancer?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with liver cancer, you want to make sure your cancer care team chooses the most advanced, effective treatment plan for you. Perhaps, a cancer diagnosis can take you for an emotional ride, but it’s important that you have open, honest discussions with your care team to make informed treatment and life decisions. Here are some questions/things to consider when you’re told you have liver cancer and when deciding on a treatment plan:
What type of liver cancer do I have?
What is the stage of cancer?
Has cancer spread to other parts of my body?
How well is my liver functioning?
Should I seek a second opinion or see other doctors?
What are my treatment choices, and will I need a liver transplant?
How soon do I begin my treatment?
What side effects/risks should I expect?
What if the treatment doesn’t work or if cancer comes back?
Apart from these examples, you might want to list down a few things of your own. Also, choose to have a positive attitude and get informed. Reach out and seek support from friends, family and those who’re going through similar experiences or have gone through this critical phase of life.
What are the complications of liver cancer?
Liver cancer can lead to a number of complications, including:
Bile duct obstruction
High blood calcium
How can I prevent liver cancer?
It’s not possible to completely prevent liver cancer, but you can reduce your risk by taking some precautionary steps:
Get vaccinated against hepatitis B
Take measures to prevent hepatitis C – such as using a condom during sex, not sharing needles or personal care items, being cautious about tattoos and piercings, etc.
Make changes to reduce your risk of cirrhosis – drinking alcohol in moderation, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Stay away from tobacco
Adopt a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly.
Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about liver cancer screening, especially if you have conditions that increase your risk – liver cirrhosis, hepatitis B or C, diabetes, obesity, etc.
What is the prognosis for liver cancer?
While successful liver transplants can cure the disease, the problem is not all patients who need a transplant will be healthy enough to undergo the procedure or able to find a donor. Perhaps, often people come to know about their liver cancer at a late stage when their illness prevents surgery. Hence, regular screening for liver cancer is so important for people with risk factors. Liver cancer remains a life-threatening disease, although there are treatments available to help improve quality of life and prolong survival.