Unlike other forms of cancer, generally liver cancer is the outcome of a different type of liver disorder, which may include cirrhosis, hepatitis C or even the spread of a different cancer from a different part of the body. There are a number of issues that may result in the development of liver cancer, for instance, consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol, using oral contraceptive, having a history of hepatitis in the family, and/ or exposure to cancer-causing agents like aflatoxin. The probable symptoms of this form of cancer may include an acute type of swelling in the region of the abdomen, which is called ascites; pain in the vicinity of the abdomen; as well as a lack of appetite and weight. Nevertheless, these symptoms of liver cancer are only evident when the disease has reached an advanced stage. In such cases, the liver may become engorged, and it may contain a solid mass. Like in the case of most forms of cancer, biopsy is done to confirm the diagnosis of liver cancer.
When the carcinogenic growth is localized, the condition may be treated by undergoing a surgery. However, in most cases, liver cancer occurs in the form of numerous tumors. In such cases, several different chemotherapy medicines may be used to treat the disease. Moreover, physicians may also make use of an interferon - a chemical that is made by the immune system.
Supplements and herbs
While specific herbs are useful in treating liver cancer, people suffering from this form of cancer ought to be careful about using herbs as a number of them may have a harmful effect on the liver or may interact contradictorily with conventional medications. It is extremely important for you to work with a qualified physician while you are dealing with any form of cancer.
Astragalus capsules taken in dosage of 500 mg to 1,000 mg thrice every day are useful in treating liver cancer. Astragalus encourages lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells to assail the tumor cells. However, caution needs to be exercised with taking astragalus and its use is strictly prohibited in case you are suffering from a fever or are having any type of skin infection.
Alternately, people enduring liver cancer may also take capsules containing herbs like coptis or barberry, Oregon grape root or goldenseal in dosage of 500 mg every day. Herbs containing berberine prevent the multiplication of the cancer cells in the liver. However, use of barberry, goldenseal, coptis or Oregon grape root is strongly prohibited in the case of people suffering from gallbladder ailments and during pregnancy.
Here is a word of caution: never take any of the herbs mentioned above in combination with vitamin B6 supplements or any protein supplements that may contain amino acid histidine. The use of the herb goldenseal is strictly prohibited for people suffering from glaucoma or cardiovascular diseases.
Consuming grated fresh cinnamon in dosage of one teaspoon every day along with food is also helpful in treating liver cancer. Cinnamon helps to neutralize plasmin - a substance that enables the carcinogenic cells to attack the healthy body tissues.
In addition, lentinan injections administered by your physician or a healthcare provider also assist in inhibiting the growth of liver tumours. At the same time, taking reishi tablets in dosage of 3 gm every day also assists in preventing the advancement of liver cancer.
People suffering from liver cancer may also take Scutellaria capsules in dosage of 1 gm to 2 gm thrice every day. Scutellaria causes the death of the cancer cells in the liver and also prevents any type of harm to the immune system owing to chemotherapy. However, the use of scutellaria is not advisable if you are suffering from diarrhea.
Soy lecithin capsules taken in dosage of 3,000 mg every day are also very effective in treating liver cancer. It prevents the harmful free-radicals to work in the development of cancer. However, you should know that when you use soy lecithin capsules for the first time, it may result in diarrhea.
Turning to homeopathy may prove to be beneficial for people suffering from liver cancer. The main objective of homeopathy is not to just treat liver cancer, but also to deal with the basic reasons responsible for the disease as well as the vulnerability of each individual to the disease. Talking about therapeutic medication, it may be said that many adequately proved medications are on hand for treating the symptoms of liver cancer and they may be chosen depending on the cause, place of occurrence of the disease, modalities, sensation as well as spread of the cancer and its related symptoms. For personalized selection of medicines as well as treatment, it is essential for the patient to talk to a competent and experienced homeopathic physician personally. A number of important homeopathic remedies that are recommended for treating liver cancer include: Phosphorus, Nux. Vom., Silicea, Natrum Sulph., Lycopodium, Taraxacum, Bryonia, Lachesis and Chelidonium.
Additional things you may do
Besides using conventional medications, herbal products, dietary supplements, homeopathy and undergoing surgery, people suffering from liver cancer may do a few additional things to facilitate their treatment. For instance, they may make use of perilla or safflower oils for cooking as well as in salad dressings. It has been proved in laboratory tests that these vegetable oils contain rich amounts of polyunsaturated omega 6 fatty acids, which help in holding back the progression of liver cancer. Then again, they should keep away from omega-3 fatty acid supplements like MaxEPA as well as fish oil, as these fatty acids have the potential to encourage the spread of other cancers to the liver.
In addition, people enduring liver cancer ought to consume foods that contain rich amounts of amino acid arginine, for instance, coconut, chocolate, sunflower seeds and hazelnuts. Studies conducted on animals have demonstrated that using arginine supplements helps to put off the development of liver tumours, while not denying the remaining body parts of the essential protein.
At the same time, consuming Jerusalem artichokes is also beneficial for liver cancer patients. Laboratory tests have shown that Jerusalem artichokes enclose inulin - a substance that inhibits the development of liver tumours. People who are suffering from any type of chronic liver ailment and develop itchiness all over their body must consult a physician, who will ask the patient to undergo an alpha-fetoprotein test. This type of itching is a result of accumulation of bile salts close to the skin surface and it may prove to be a symptom of initial stages of liver cancer.
Although liver cancer patients suffering from fever or those who are being administered interferon are not able to take minor bupleurum decoction, they are able to take the herb milk thistle. In effect, silybinin is a chemical present in milk thistle that saves the Kuppfer cells in the liver from inflammation. These are specialized immune cells that swallow up foreign substances in the liver, besides playing an important role in eliminating the cancer cells that have already gone into the bloodstream. Significantly, silybinin does not interfere with the tumour necrosis factor (TNF) - a chemical substance present in the immune system that speeds up the process of obliterating the carcinogenic cells in the liver. Milk thistle is available in a homogenized form that provides 120 mg of silymarin in a 500 mg capsule. You may also use 500 mg milk thistle seed capsules. Either of them should be taken thrice every day.
Alternately, you may prepare a tea with milk thistle by using 1/3 ounce to 1/2 ounce of the herbís seeds in two cups (500 ml) of steaming water and let it infuse for about 45 minutes. Filter the resultant solution and drink 1/ 3 of the tea in three doses every day. As milk thistle tinctures are prepared using alcohol, it is advisable that people suffering from liver cancer should keep away from them.
A number of herbs are effective in diminishing the chances of developing liver cancer. For instance, bitter orange encloses monoterpenes that help to prevent development of liver tumours even before they can begin to grow. It is advisable that you take one cup of tea prepared from this herb every day - you need to use one teaspoon (2 gm to 3 gm) of the herb for every cup of tea. In addition, drinking green tea helps to prevent development of liver cancer - so far as viral hepatitis does not exist, even if you take soy lecithin. It is advisable that you should drink as many as two to five cups of green tea daily or intake 250 mg of green tea catechins thrice every day.
Alternately, you may use a combination of scutellaria and licorice in the form of a tea to facilitate in putting off the progression of hepatitis C into liver cancer. Ideally, you should take one cup of each herb from the bags they are available in every day. However, if you have glaucoma, hypertension (high blood pressure) or certain disorders caused by estrogen, for instance, disease of the female reproductive organs, you should avoid taking licorice. Use these herbs continuously for six weeks and then discontinue for two weeks and begin again in this order. Also consume sufficient amounts of potassium-rich foods like citrus juices, bananas or even take a potassium supplement every day when you are taking licorice. When you are suffering from diarrhea, it is advisable that you avoid taking scutellaria.
In order to diminish the chances of developing liver cancer, you may take 150 micrograms of the trace mineral selenium every day on a regular basis. A clinical trial undertaken in China with more than 100,000 people detected that taking selenium supplement helped to lessen the rate of liver cancer by as much as 35 per cent over a period of eight years. However, when the participants stopped taking the selenium supplement, it was found that the rate of liver cancer began to increase again. In fact, it has been proved that selenium is particularly beneficial for people suffering from hepatitis B.
It is important to note that a number of factors like smoking, consumption of alcohol and insufficient intake of vitamin A augment the risk of live cancer in people who are already infected with hepatitis B. This effect is particularly serious for men who smoke over 10 cigarettes daily. Consumption of one to three servings of leafy green, orange or yellow vegetables every week offers an adequate amount of A vitamins that help to diminish the chances of developing liver cancer to the extent of 80 per cent among men who are suffering from hepatitis B.
Aflatoxin, the impurity found in grain, immensely raises the hazards of developing liver cancer. In effect, aflatoxin results in mutations in the p53 gene that scavenges for as well as neutralizes growing cancer cells. Therefore, it is important that you should eat only fresh cereals and flour products all the time. Studies conducted on animals have hinted that chlorophyll has the aptitude to lower the ability of aflatoxin to cause cancer.
Other beneficial herbs