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Liver » Liver Transplant

Just How Many Cancers of the Liver Are There???

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Every person who has been touched by the concept of liver cancer directly or indirectly has had this question at some point. It’s okay too, you know.


Given how just nobody happens to be in a mood to tell us what kind of cancer of the liver counts as primary and what kind of tumour dangles between the boundaries of primary and secondary, it is quite natural to get frustrated with the nomenclature here.

But gone are those times of worry. Here is a clear view (or what I think is a clear picture) of types of liver cancers.

First, Let’s Talk about the Categories of Liver Cancer Types

So, on the surface, you’ll find that there are primary and secondary liver cancers. However, cancer of the liver is an umbrella term. If you go a bit deeper, you’ll find names like cholangiocarcinoma, hemangioendothelioma, leiomyosarcoma, and well, such other types of liver cancer.

Hepatocellular carcinoma or the most frequently occurring primary liver cancer (75% of the times) is by far the most clearly categorised kind of cancer of the liver. But, it isn’t the only primarily occurring cancer of the liver despite the fact that HCC is also called primary liver cancer.

So, to form a vague sort of understanding, here is how you can try categorising the types of liver cancers/tumours.

Primary Liver Cancer

Hepatocellular Carcinoma is the most common and most primary liver cancer. However, there is another kind of liver cancer formed by the liver cells. It’s called hepatoblastoma.

Where HCC is caused by hepatocytes or liver cells that become malignant, hepatoblastoma is prompted because of the immature liver cells. While HCC accounts for 75% of all cases of primary liver cancer, hepatoblastoma accounts for 79% of primary liver cancer cases in children under 15 years of age.

Hepatoblastoma is a rare kind of malignant case. 1% of all manner of cancers occurring in kids is hepatoblastoma.

Secondary Liver Cancer

Metastases are those cancers that started somewhere else, travelled to the liver and decided to call it home. This kind of cancer could come from the pancreas, stomach, colon, or appendix. Even breast cancer, renal, ovarian or lung cancer or prostate cancer can travel to the liver via the bloodstream.

The Cancers in Between

Here is the thing- the ‘in between’ kind of malignancies aren’t necessarily a direct result of the liver cells going crazy, so they aren’t called primary cancer of the liver. But they do occur in the liver, in its other elements like the muscles or the blood vessels, so they aren’t technically secondary cancer either.

So, cholangiocarcinoma, or the bile duct cancer, or angiosarcoma, which is the cancer of liver’s blood vessels, or leiomyosarcoma- cancer formed of the liver muscles, while all malignant and all consisting chances of killing a patient are just that- the cancers ‘in between.’

In Case I Forgot Any Types of Liver Cancer

Say, you know of a particular liver miscreant of a whole different category that I happen to have left out, do not hesitate to inform me of the same via the powerful utility tool called ‘comments’. (Cheers to Modern Technology!!!)

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ZealthDoc is a medical tourism website providing healthcare services like Liver Transplant, Kidney Transplant, Cardiology, IVF etc

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