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HCC is a type of liver cancer. It's a primary liver cancer and is the most common form of cancer that starts in the liver.
HCC differs from cancers that start elsewhere in the body and spread to the liver.
Between 2000 and 2016, there were a total of 119,078 cases of HCC in the U.S. It's more common in parts of Asia and Africa.
HCC is about 3 times more common in men than in women.
Doctors don't know for sure what causes HCC. But the disease is more common in people who have other liver conditions.
Environment factors may play a role in causing HCC. This includes eating food contaminated with aflatoxin, a fungal poison.
Some conditions and infections damage the liver over time. This damage may make the liver at risk for developing HCC.
Liver conditions that may put you at greater risk for HCC include:
There's no sure way to prevent HCC.
But you can take actions to lower your risk, such as:
Our doctors at the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases are experts in diagnosing and treating all liver conditions, including HCC.
Some people with HCC don't have any symptoms, especially when the disease first starts.
Sometimes, people notice a lump or feel pain on the right side of their body.
Other HCC symptoms include:
Doctors diagnose HCC in a few ways.
Along with a physical exam, other diagnostic techniques include:
Experts don't always require liver biopsy to confirm HCC. With a liver biopsy, doctors remove a small piece of liver tissue and study it under a microscope.
After diagnosing HCC, doctors stage the disease. Staging helps them make treatment decisions based on how advanced the cancer is.
In staging HCC, experts look at:
Doctors also take into account the overall condition of your liver when making treatment plans.
Experts at the Center for Liver Diseases use different treatment options to tailor care to your needs.
Doctors might suggest making certain lifestyle changes to support your liver's overall health, such as:
Medicine and other medical therapies to fight HCC include:
Sometimes, surgeons will operate to remove tumors in treating HCC.
In a partial hepatectomy, surgeons remove the tumor and some of the nearby tissue, leaving the liver's healthy tissue intact.
If cancer has advanced, your liver doctor may talk to you about a transplant. In a liver transplant, surgeons take out the entire diseased liver and replace it with a healthy donor liver.