Like any other liver cancer, the survival rate of metastatic liver cancer is lower and the mortality rate is high. Liver cancer can be of two types, primary or secondary (metastasis). Primary liver cancer means that the cancer has originated in the liver itself. Let’s see some vital information about this deadly disease.
What is metastatic liver cancer?
The meaning of the pathological term “metastasis” is the transport of dangerous pathogens or cancer cells from the original part of the body to the other parts of the body. Live metastatic cancer originates mainly in the lungs, large intestine, breasts, etc. The reason why cancer spreads to the liver is because the liver filters the entire body’s blood. And when these cancer cells break away from the primary cancer site, they travel through the bloodstream. It would be shocking to know that, most of the time, the diagnosis of a metastatic liver leads to the discovery of a cancer. Often, this diagnosis is made late, and therefore, the survival rate is low.
The main problem with this condition is that it cannot be diagnosed until the cancer has advanced. Few liver function tests can confirm whether a person has metastatic liver cancer or not. Few of the other advanced diagnostic methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and CT (computed tomography) may be useful in cancer detection, but most of the time, it may be ineffective in the detection of small tumors . If the results of these tests are not clear, a liver biopsy is necessary and can be a safe method of firing for the diagnosis of metastatic liver cancer. Another method to diagnose cancerous tumors is through a laparoscope, which is a viewing tube that is inserted into the abdomen through an incision.
Metastatic liver cancer is a serious disease and survival rates are relatively low. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) records, each year in the US there are approx. 24,000 cases of primary liver cancer detected. And there are fair opportunities for a person to develop metastatic liver cancer and it is very common.
Survival rates in this case are low because most of the time it is diagnosed too late and during the last stage, and most of the time, death occurs within a few months of diagnosis. Survival rates in developing countries may be even lower due to late prognosis and also poor treatment options. Although this may not happen in all developing countries, but in some of them. Also in some of these countries the liver transplant option may not be a viable option.
Treatment depends largely on the primary cancer and its condition. Chemotherapy can be used to treat metastatic liver cancer. It does not destroy it completely, but then it is the only medication that helps in the reduction of the temporary tumor and therefore prolongs life. Then there is the radiotherapy treatment for the liver that helps reduce pain. Another treatment is surgery. However, it may not even be recommended because of serious complications. Over here, small tumors can be removed with surgery.
There are chances that with liver transplantation, life expectancy can be improved, and it can be so high since 75% of them live up to 5 years. However, the only problem with this is that liver cancer must be diagnosed at an earlier stage. Liver transplantation is an option when a person is diagnosed earlier with metastatic liver cancer, however, since it is a type of secondary cancer, sooner or later, cancer cells will focus on the transplant of the new liver. Survival rates are low, even if a transplant is performed. Surgical resection can improve the chances of survival in this case, however, it is an option only when the tumors are located or are stable in the liver area.
However, in cases where surgery is possible, life expectancy also increases considerably. There is a 75% chance that a person will survive for 1 year or more, 50% during the 3 years and 30% during the 5 years. Therefore, there are minimal chances of survival depending on the condition of liver cancer. In addition, with treatments such as chemotherapy and liver transplantation, an increase in the survival rate cannot be observed. There are chances that 15% due to chemotherapy, life expectancy may increase by 1 year and 3% during the 3 years. However, the survival rates of liver transplants are the highest of 80% for 1 year, 70% for 3 years or 5 years.