How long can you survive with Liver Cancer?

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Out of four types of liver cancer, the common one is hepatocellular carcinoma or HCC that affects 75% of people suffering from different kinds of liver cancer. However, secondary liver cancers are more common than the primary ones. The tumor that arises from other parts of the body such as pancreas, lung, breast or stomach and heads towards the liver is quite common in adults.

In other cases, you are vulnerable to develop liver cancer if you have hepatitis or cirrhosis - the scarring of the liver cells.

Liver Cancer - An Overview!

It is a type of cancer that is known by the scarring of the liver cells when diagnosed. Initially, it doesn’t show any signs or symptoms. However, if you experience loss in appetite, sudden weight loss or yellowish skin, you need to consult your doctor as immediately as possible.

In the United States, more than 22,000 men and 9,000 women are diagnosed with liver cancer every year. In a recent study conducted, out of 1.57 million adults data, 2,162 were diagnosed with liver cancer.

Did you know? Obesity is highly related to liver cancer. If you’re obese, you’re more likely to develop liver cancer. For every 5 kg/m2 increase in body mass index (BMI), there is a 38 and 25 percent increase in the development of liver cancer in men and women - respectively.

What is the survival rate of a person with liver cancer?

Depending on whether treated or left untreated, the survival rate has different phases and outcomes. There are many factors involved - how advanced it is diagnosed, type of liver cancer, treatment undergone and fitness level.

The survival rate can be counted into two categories:
  • Median Survival is a statistic that determines how long a patient survives with disease in general or after a treatment. It is the time from diagnosis to the point at which half of the patients are expected to be alive.
  • 5-year Survival: It is the rate at which the number of people survives for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
If the cancer is diagnosed at stage 0: Without treatment, the median survival for stage 0 people is 3 years or more. While if treated, the 5-year survival rate goes upto 70-90%.
To treat stage 0, one has to undergo liver resection, liver transplant, treatment to destroy the tumor with heat (ablation therapy). The liver cancer treatment cost in India depends on several factors - the type of cancer, treatment and more.

What are the chances if it is diagnosed at stage A?
Again, if left untreated, the median survival is more than 3 years. When it is treated, the 5-year survival rate is between 50-70%.
One has to undergo ablation therapy to deeply destroy the tumor cells.

What are the chances for stage B patients?

Without treatment, the median survival is 16 months. It increases up to 20 months on being treated. One might have to undergo chemotherapy that directly affects the tumored blood vessels responsible for blocking blood flow. This process is known as transarterial chemoembolization or TACE.

When a person is diagnosed with stage C: For untreated patients, the median survival rate is between 4 and 8 months. While on being treated, it goes up to 6 and 11 months. The cancer specialist prescribes a targeted cancer drug - sorafenib or may suggest a clinical trial.

On diagnosis with stage D: There is no treatment for stage D patients and he/she is expected to live up to 4 months.

What is the survival rate for liver cancer patients for all stages?

Approximately 36 percent of people survive for 1 year or more post-diagnosis. However, only 12 percent of people survive for 5 years or more after their diagnosis.

Outlook:

The survival rate also depends on the age factor as well. People between the ages of 15 to 39, nearly 35 percent of people diagnosed with liver cancer live up to 5 years or more. For people aged 75 or more, the 5-year survival rate reduces to 5%.

The survival rate totally depends on the treatment undergone which is associated with the type, size, location of the tumor and the degree of its spread. The patient’s overall health also counted as an important factor.

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