A cancer diagnosis is a scary experience no matter who you are – and at Orange County CyberKnife, our mission is to help you get through it and come out the other side healthy and happy. As a leading radiation oncology clinic serving the Orange County, CA area, we’re proud to offer high-quality radiation therapy treatments including CyberKnife. We treat virtually every form of cancer, and even when a patient’s condition is quite serious and advanced, we believe there’s always hope. If you or a loved one are suffering from any form of liver cancer, we’re here to help.
Primary liver cancer describes cancer that originates in the liver, as opposed to metastatic liver cancer, which occurs cancer spreads to the liver from another part of the body. There two types of primary liver cancer: hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cholangiocarcinoma. HCC is usually caused by liver cirrhosis, which most commonly comes from alcoholism or hepatitis C in the US. In addition to these risk factors, HCC has also been linked to obesity, exposure to certain chemicals, hepatitis B, and use of anabolic steroids.
Hepatocellular carcinoma often causes no symptoms during its early stages, so unfortunately, it frequently goes undetected until it’s quite advanced. When the cancer does show symptoms, they can include weight loss, nausea, pain at the location of the liver, feeling full even after eating only a small amount, and jaundice (yellow skin and eyes). Treatment options for HCC depend on the stage of the cancer, but can include any of the following:
Every patient is different, and you’ll work with your treatment team to choose the treatment that’s right for you.
Cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer, is the other form of primary liver cancer, and unfortunately it’s very aggressive and often lethal. Cholangiocarcinoma is rare, with only 5,000 new cases each year, but it grows quickly and is difficult to cure. Where possible, surgical resection of the liver or liver transplant are the preferred treatment methods. If surgery isn’t an option, we can use chemotherapy or radiation to manage the condition, but not cure it.
Cancer doctors use a staging system to assess the severity of the cancer and summarize information on how fat it has spread. Liver cancer is staged using the TNM system, which measures three key components:
Each of these variables is graded on a scale of 0 to 4, where 0 is the least severe and 4 the most. In addition, letters are added to the grade to demarcate certain stages.
After grading the T, N, and M variables, your doctor will combine them to assign an overall stage of the cancer. This stage uses Roman numbers 1 to 4 to describe the overall severity of the cancer.
Liver cancer is a serious condition at any stage – but with early detection and the right cancer treatment, there’s always hope. OC CyberKnife has helped thousands of patients across the Orange County area take hope in their fight against cancer, and we would be thrilled to help you do the same. Call us today at 714.962.7100 to find out how our state-of-the art cancer treatments can help you beat cancer, recover, and return to a healthy, normal life.