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Top 10 Warning Signs Of Liver Cancer (We Never Imagined #6!)
Cancer rates continue to rise every year. It kills millions of people and maims many, many more. Perhaps one of the worst places to develop cancer is in the body’s main filter: The liver. For unknown reasons, liver cancer strikes more men than women, but either way, more than 30,000 people will be diagnosed with liver cancer this year alone. About 23,000 of those people will die from it. Although liver cancer typically spreads to the liver from cancer in another location, it can develop within the liver itself.
Cancer of the liver is now the fourth most common cancer in the world and kills more than 600,000 people worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization.
The liver is vital for absorbing toxins and other foreign material inside the body. No matter how we try to avoid it, toxins and waste are a part of our everyday lives. It is our liver (in combination with other parts of the body) that enables us to live a mostly worry-free life.
The liver converts nutrients in the bloodstream and filters out all types of harmful waste and other foreign things that are of no use to the body.
The primary causes of liver cancer can be linked to basically three things: biology, bad habits, or disease. More than 50 percent of those diagnosed with cancer of the liver have had scarring in the liver, known as cirrhosis, which causes the cells in the liver to die.
The two main causes of cirrhosis are:
- Frequent alcohol abuse – Alcohol degrades the liver over time, slowly killing off cells. The liver can regenerate itself to a point, but while it tries to repair the damage, this often leads to DNA mutations, which then kicks cancer into gear.
- Chronic viral Hepatitis – This is caused through the exchange of body fluids, which leads to either hepatitis C or B.
The over-consumption of alcohol is linked to several types of cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer, oral cancer, cancer of the esophagus, and liver cancer. Alcoholism can lead to heavy inflammation of the liver, which greatly increases the risk of cancer. Like smoking, alcohol consumption slows your body’s natural cell-healing process.
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Of course, there are other things that cause cancer, including exposure to chemical toxins, such as pesticides, building materials, working in the automotive filed, certain types of mold, and smoking. Even the prolonged use of anabolic steroids in men has been linked to several types of cancer, including liver cancer.
More than 75 percent of all liver cancer cases are men. There have been no studies revealing why this is, but many believe that men tend to drink and smoke more than women do overall.
Race also plays a part in your risk of developing this devastating type of cancer. Asian Americans and those from the Pacific Islands tend to have a higher risk of developing liver cancer.
Your age also plays a part. Almost 95 percent of all liver cancer cases occur in those over the age of 45. The most common cancer patient is a male over the age of 64.
If you are a diabetic, the risk of fatty liver disease increases your risk of liver cancer. Metabolic diseases that are genetic also put you at a higher risk.
Perhaps one of the worst things about liver cancer is that it has a terrible habit of showing up very late when it comes to symptoms. Liver cancer, in most cases, only begins to show symptoms after it is rather developed and has become serious. Some symptoms are common and can be seen in numerous other health problems or diseases, so it sometimes goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years.
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The following are the top 10 signs of liver cancer. If you see a doctor but the symptoms remain unresolved, insist that you get tested for possible liver cancer, even if you are a woman and/or only drink alcohol on occasion.
1. Feelings of restlessness or tiresome days
2. Sudden weight loss with no change in diet or no effort to lose weight
3. Feeling bloated after eating, even if it is only a small meal
4. Sharp pains inside the abdomen or a hard lump on the right side
5. Persistent itching of the skin with no signs of skin problems
6. Lack of appetite or nausea when eating
7. Stools that contain large white “patches” or white “strings”
8. Weak-feeling muscles that do not feel better after resting
9. Swelling in the lower abdomen
10. A yellowish discoloration of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
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How Can You Reduce Your Risk?
As we already mentioned, liver cancer does not typically show itself until it has progressed considerably, which is why prevention is your best defense. Let’s look at ways that you can reduce your risk as much as possible.
- Consume foods and herbs that are known to support the liver and help it to cleanse itself. Foods like lemon, cilantro, garlic, and Brussels sprouts are all good for the liver. You can also add herbs and spices such as turmeric, milk thistle, and St. Mary’s thistle to your diet.
- If you should experience any of the above symptoms, and they don’t resolve themselves after a week or two, see your doctor.
- Avoid contracting hepatitis by avoiding sex with strangers, wearing condoms, not using shared needles, and avoiding physical contact with those who have hepatitis.
- Although it is best to avoid all tobacco use and alcohol, a moderate routine of use is far better than excessive use. If you smoke, quit. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one or two drinks a day.
- If you work around environmental carcinogens or industrial chemicals, take protective measures.
- Avoid the use of chemicals around the home. Find natural means of fighting unwanted pests, killing weeds, and household cleaners. The fewer chemicals you exposure yourself to, the less load you place on your liver.
- If you have a family history of liver cancer, or other types of disease the increase your risk of liver cancer, get regular screenings from your doctor.
- Avoid unnecessary antibiotics, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or recreational drug use. All of these must first be screened by your liver, which places a huge burden on it.
- Get piercings and tattoos only from clean, reputable locations that have been in business for a while.
The best way to avoid liver cancer is to eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise and sleep, avoid all forms of tobacco, limit alcohol use, and be aware of the symptoms.