Hepatocellular carcinoma or liver cancer is a tumor that grows in the liver and usually takes months to start giving out symptoms. Unfortunately, once liver cancer starts causing problems, the patient is generally in an advanced stage of the disease. This type of cancer is usually very silent, which is why patients at risk should screen and stay in contact with their doctor.
In this article, we’re reviewing the most critical information about liver cancer. It is not meant to replace medical advice in any form. Quite the opposite, because you will get the appropriate tools to suspect liver cancer or recognize yourself as a part of the high-risk group, and if that is the case, we encourage you to look for medical help to rule out this ailment.
Causes of liver cancer
Is there a specific reason why liver cancer starts growing? Despite the growing body of evidence, it is not possible to point out an exact and unique cause. Instead, liver cancer has a plethora of triggers and risk factors, and they all contribute on their own behalf to the development of a malignant tumor.
One of the first causes proposed by contemporary authors is the hepatitis B virus. This type of infection causes inflammation and leads to the development of liver cancer. But this is not the only one cause. Nowadays, studies also show that most patients with liver cancer had a cirrhotic liver as an underlying condition, and they may not have a hepatitis infection.
Whatever the exact trigger, what happens next is more explicit in the evidence. A combination of inflammation, fibrosis and necrosis of the liver tissue keeps on advancing and leads to the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. They cause alteration in particular genes identified by various studies. They include the T ERT gene, which maintains the length of the telomeres, the tumor suppressor gene TP53, a transcriptional regulator known as CTNNB1, and two genes involved in remodeling the chromatin to make available certain parts of the DNA, known as ARID1A and ARID2.