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Malignant Hepatic Lesions
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Your liver is your body’s largest and heaviest internal organ. It has an important role in digestion. It produces fluids and substances that help your blood clot. It also stores glucose (sugar) and vitamins so that your body can use them later. It processes broken-down food into useable parts and waste. As the food products pass through, the liver purifies harmful substances.
Sometimes, an imaging test shows an abnormality (lesion) on the liver. Most liver lesions are benign. A biopsy can determine whether a lesion is benign or malignant.
A malignant hepatic lesion is an abnormal, cancerous growth (tumor) on the liver. Liver cancer is diagnosed when the liver is the first part of the body to develop a malignant tumor.
A malignant liver lesion may appear as 1 growing tumor or several tumors. Tumors can develop in several places:
- on the surface of the liver,
- in the tubes that carry bile from the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine (bile ducts), or
- in the blood vessels of the liver.
Malignant hepatic lesions can also result from cancer cells that formed in another part of the body. This condition is secondary liver cancer.
Cirrhosis, diabetes and long-term infection with hepatitis B or C can lead to malignant tumors on the liver.
The typical symptoms of malignant liver tumors are
- Lump or pain on the right side of the abdomen
- Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
Treatment options for malignant liver tumors include:
- Surgical removal
- Cryosurgical removal (use of a metal probe to freeze and kill cancer cells)
- Injection of alcohol into the tumor to destroy cancer cells
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Radiation treatment
- Sorafenib (Nexavar), a medication for certain types of liver cancer
- Liver transplant