The liver is the largest organ of the human body without the skin, located below the ribs on right side of the abdomen.
Among its main functions include filtering the blood and toxic waste disposal, and the manufacture of enzymes that help digest food, converting them into substances needed for the proper functioning of the body. Some nutrients have to be chemically modified (metabolized) in the liver before the rest of the body can use as an energy source.
The liver produces some of the clotting factors that prevent the blood is too thin and also secretes bile to the intestine to help absorb nutrients.
The liver is divided into three lobes, the right, the left and a smaller one called square, which in turn are subdivided into segments. Unlike most other organs of the body receives blood from two sources.
The hepatic artery supplies the liver with blood rich in oxygen while the portal vein carries nutrient-rich blood from the intestines. All blood from the digestive tract through the liver before it reaches the rest of the body, making it a sort of ‘office’ from the outside world.
- Hepatitis: One of the major risk factors for developing this cancer is hepatitis. The virus causing this disease, hepatitis B or C, can enter the body through contaminated blood or through sexual contact with another person. Experts believe that between 10% and 20 percent of people infected with hepatitis B develop liver cancer, in fact, it is estimated that there is evidence of infection by almost a quarter of Americans who have this type of tumor.
However, the exact relationship between hepatitis C virus and liver cancer is still being studied. Currently exploring ways to prevent or treat hepatitis infections before they get to cause cancer, and have made significant progress in this field. According to the American Cancer Society, some vaccines and improved treatments against this infection can prevent about half the liver cancer cases worldwide.
Liver cancer develops many years after acquiring the viral infection. Although these infections may pass without symptoms, blood tests can detect the presence of virus in the blood. In that case, the doctor will recommend the treatment to be followed and the best methods to avoid spreading the infection to others.
- Cirrhosis: This condition occurs when many of the liver cells are damaged and are replaced by scar tissue, which is not capable of developing liver functions. May be due to alcohol or certain viruses such as hepatitis. Only 5% of patients with cirrhosis develop liver cancer. Much of cryptogenic cirrhosis are called because its cause is unknown, appear in non-drinkers without hepatitis infection.
- Aflatoxin: These substances are caused by certain types of molds, and can form Blanching, popcorn and other grains or cereals. Although the sale of products with high levels of aflatoxins is banned in Western countries, contamination by this substance remains a major public health problem in Asia and Africa.
- Other: Being a man doubled the chances of developing liver tumors. And the risks are increased with age and among people with a family history of disease.