Liver Cancer - Types and Stages

Liver cancer is one of the most common cancers found around the world. The cancer itself is an umbrella disease which has been categorized into several types according to the origin of the cancer.

Liver Cancer - Types and Stages

Types of liver cancer

Commonly liver cancer has four types, usually named after the types of the cells the cancer has developed from.

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) -

    It is one of the most common types of liver cancer which is also known as hepatoma. The cancer directly affect the main cells of liver known as hepatocytes. This type of liver cancer is usually confined to the liver, however, sometimes reaches to the other organs as well

  • Cholangiocarcinoma-

    This is the type of liver cancer that start in the line of bile duct and also known as bile duct cancer.

  • Fibrolamellar carcinoma -

    It is rare, sub-type of Hepatocellular carcinoma cancer. This kind of liver cancer tends to develop in the younger people and is usually caused by cirrhosis or hepatitis B or C.

  • Angiosarcoma -

    This cancer is usually found in people who are in their 70's or 80's. These are extremely rare type of cancer which begins in the blood vessels.

Stages of Liver Cancer

The stages of liver cancer can be defined on the basis of the size or location of the cancer. The process of defining the extent of the cancer is called staging. Liver cancer has been divided into 4 stages.

  • Stage I

    In this stage of liver cancer, the tumour is found in the liver.

  • Stage II

    Tumour is found and has grown to the blood vessels. One or more smaller tumour can be found.

  • Stage III

    Stage 3 is further categorized into three levels:

    1. Stage III-A

      One or more tumours can be found, and at least one tumour would be larger than 5 cm. However, at this level cancer has not yet spread to the lymph nodes or any organ.

    2. Stage III-B

      At this level, cancer gets into the main blood vessels of the liver, however, the cancer still has not grown to the lymph nodes.

    3. Stage III-C

      Liver cancer, at this stage, starts spreading into the other organs nearby the liver or through the lining of inner membrane of abdomen. It still has not spread to the lymph nodes.

  • Stage IV

    The fourth stage of the cancer is also categorized into two different levels.

    1. Stage IV-A

      One or more tumours can be found in the liver. It may have spread to the blood vessel or any nearby organ. The cancer, at this stage, has spread to the lymph nodes nearby the liver.

      The cancer is any size and there may be more than one tumour. It may have grown into blood vessels or the organs around the liver. It has spread to lymph nodes but not to other parts of the body.

    2. Stage IV-B

      More than one large (larger than 5 cm) tumour can be found in the liver, at this stage. It might be possible that the cancer has grown into the blood vessel of the liver or any other organ nearby. It may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes nearby but has grown to the distant organs like lungs or kidneys.

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