Author Topic: What is primary liver cancer?  (Read 1972 times)

Offline Tony

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What is primary liver cancer?
« on: September 30, 2012, 10:32:29 AM »

What is primary liver cancer?

Primary liver cancer starts in the cells , bile ducts, blood vessels or connective tissue of the liver . Itís not very common. Primary liver cancer is different from cancer that started somewhere else in the body and spread to the liver (called secondary liver cancer or metastatic liver cancer).

The liver is one of the largest organs in the body. Itís found in the upper part of the abdomen on the right-hand side and is protected by the lower ribs. The liver has two parts, called lobes Ė the right lobe and the smaller left lobe.

The liver has many important functions that keep you healthy, including:

  • making enzymes and bile that help digest food
  • storing energy, vitamins and minerals, and releasing them into the blood when they are needed
  • making proteins that help the blood clot to stop bleeding from a cut or injury
  • cleaning the blood by removing harmful materials, such as alcohol and waste products
  • regulating the level of some of the natural chemicals in your body, such as cholesterol

The liver gets its supply of blood from two places. The hepatic artery supplies the liver with blood that is rich in oxygen from the lungs and heart. The portal vein carries blood that is rich in nutrients from the intestines to the liver.

Most primary liver cancers begin in liver cells (called hepatocytes). This type of cancer is called hepatocellular carcinoma. Cholangiocarcinomas are less common and start in the cells of the bile ducts, which are tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder. The gallbladder stores bile until it is needed for digestion. The information in this brochure is about hepatocellular cancers, but cholangiocarcinomas are often treated the same way.



This brochure is about primary liver cancer. Secondary liver cancer (also called metastatic liver cancer), which begins somewhere else in the body and spreads to the liver, is not discussed in this brochure. For information on secondary liver cancer, please Contact The Cancer Society or call our Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 09:43:17 AM by Tony »

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