How To Test, Diagnose And Detect Liver Cancer
Liver cancer is the type of cancer that begins in the liver. Most people do not have any symptoms during the early stage of the disease. However, at the advanced stage of the disease, the patients start experiencing symptoms.
One should consult the doctor when they start experiencing symptoms like unintentional weight loss, nausea, pain in the abdomen, generalized weakness, swelling in the abdomen, jaundice, and loss of appetite.
Regular screening is advised in the high-risk group to detect and diagnose liver cancer at an early stage since, during the early stage of disease, the patients usually don’t experience the symptoms.
Liver cancer could occur anywhere in the liver. Doctors recommend various Tests for Liver cancer screening, early detection, and diagnosis.
Tests For Liver Cancer
Liver cancer diagnosis requires a physical examination, complete medical history, laboratory investigations, and other specialized medical tests to confirm the diagnosis, stage of liver cancer, size of the tumor and to plan the treatment accordingly.
The team of liver cancer experts carries out the following Liver Cancer Tests.
How to diagnose Liver cancer?
How To Diagnose Liver Cancer Include The Following Steps:-
Physical Examination – Physical examination is important. Through physical examination, the doctor check for swelling in the abdomen, check for skin color, eye area (yellow discoloration that could be a sign of jaundice ).
Medical History – Medical history is very important to know about the risk factors, the symptoms patient is experiencing and to look up the other signs of liver cancer.
If the symptoms, physical examination, and medical history suggest or indicate the chances of liver cancer other specialized tests for liver cancer are performed by a team of liver cancer experts.
Blood Investigations – Blood investigations are important to check for the functioning of the liver. A liver function test is done to check how well the liver is functioning.
Other blood investigations include Complete blood count (CBC ), Kidney function test, Lipid profile to check the overall health status of the patient.
Radiology and Imaging Tests – Radiological investigations like X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans are key players in diagnosing liver cancer.
These investigations are done to better understand liver cancer. They are prescribed to know the spread of cancer, size of the tumor, plan the individual treatment, and plan the requirement of biopsy.
Tests Include –
1. Ultrasound – Ultrasound is done if liver cancer is suspected during screening. Ultrasound detects the presence of a lesion is suspicious and requires more testing.
Ultrasound is a low-cost technique that also prevents harmful ionizing radiation.
The benefit of ultrasound is low cost and prevention from harmful radiation.
2. Computed Tomography – CT scan provide detailed information of the abdomen and other parts of the body. Ct scan helps in identifying the size and location of the tumor in the liver or other areas of the abdomen.
3. Magnetic Resonance Imaging ( MRI ) – As a CT scan, an MRI scan provides detailed imaging of the body and diagnoses tumors in areas like the chest, abdomen. With technological advancement, MRIs could even scan the areas like arteries and veins of the liver.
MRIs could also detect the spread of cancer to other areas of the body.
MRI scan is quite expensive than other radiological investigations but prevents harmful ionizing radiation exposure.
4. Liver Angiography – This procedure is done by injecting dye through the catheter into the liver, and taking images of the areas. Hepatic Angiography helps plan the treatment in liver cancer patients.
This is done only in those patients that are at higher risk of developing liver cancer but have not shown any signs during other radiological investigations.
This procedure is done under local anesthesia followed by inserting the catheter following by injecting the dye to understand the liver.
5. Bone Scan – Bone scan is suggested by doctors when there is severe bone pain, or there is a need for a liver transplant. A bone scan is also done to check if there is metastasis of liver cancer that is the cancer is spread to other parts of the body.
6. Specialized Tests
Liver Biopsy –Liver biopsy helps in distinguishing between the benign or malignant form of liver cancer. During a biopsy, a tissue sample is removed and sent to a pathology laboratory for further evaluation.
Sometimes CT or MRI scan doesn’t provide the confirmed diagnosis of liver cancer, but biopsy provides the confirmed diagnosis to plan the further treatment.
Needle biopsy or Surgical biopsy are planned based on the doctor’s decision.
7. How to Diagnose Liver Cancer
A liver cancer team of experts diagnose Liver cancer through various tests based on the individual case.
Every patient doesn’t require all the tests for diagnosis of Liver cancer. The doctors recommend the tests based on the individual case.
The doctor recommends and suggests the test based on the symptoms, age, overall health status, associated medical history, and the type of cancer, alcohol abuse by the patient.
An accurate diagnosis help in planning the treatment plan. Blood and radiological investigations are required during the treatment also to check the type of response of treatment inpatient.
How to Detect Liver Cancer Early?
Although identifying liver cancer early is often difficult as in the early stage of liver cancer, the patients do not show any signs and symptoms.
However, liver cancer could be diagnosed early by regular screening of people who are at high risk of developing liver cancer.
It is also identified by the doctor during a physical examination at the time of screening or while undergoing treatment for any other associated health disorder.
Liver cancer screening is also done among people who are taking treatment for cirrhosis and in cases where cirrhosis is getting worse without any cause.
Patients with long-standing cirrhosis must undergo regular screening for liver cancer.
Regular screening is recommended every year among patients who are at high risk of developing liver cancer.
Liver Cancer Treatment Cost
The average cost of Liver cancer treatment cost in India is 4500 to 5000 USD. However the Liver transplant surgery cost range between 35000 to 43000 USD.
Apart from this, the cost of the treatment depends on various factors like the type of hospital, city, the experience of the doctor, stage of cancer, associated medical condition, length of stay in the hospital, cost of blood investigations, radiological investigations, biopsy, and follow-up visits.
The team of specialist aim to treat the patient with a holistic approach.
The hospitals in India provide the best treatment with all the facilities required. With proper planning and investigations, the line of treatment is planned based on the individual patient.
The best treatment approach with the multidisciplinary approach at affordable cost is provided by the hospitals keeping in mind the associated medical conditions and overall health status of the patient.
The prognosis for Liver Cancer
Early screening of cancer provides chances of successful treatment and an excellent prognosis.
Localized liver cancer has good survival rate than distant cancer that has metastasized that is spread to other areas of the body.
Prognosis of cancer is poor in cases with distant metastasis but early screening could provide better treatment.
The advanced line of treatment help in providing an increase in life expectancy and quick control of symptoms in most cases.