While early detection is usually the goal of cancer treatment, occasionally the cancer is found at a very late stage. At this point, it becomes necessary to focus not on general symptoms of liver cancer, but on the later symptoms so you can establish a baseline for how far along the cancer has progressed so as to plan an effective treatment regimen.
Liver cancer is also known as a hepatocellular carcinoma, and it is usually seen in individuals between the ages of 50 to 60 years old. The most common cause of liver cancer is preexisting damage to the liver, which can be caused by alcohol abuse, excess iron in the body or other disease that causes inflammation within the liver. Symptoms of liver cancer generally include jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), abdominal pain or easy bruising skin.
Metastatis is a condition that occurs in end-stage (terminal) liver cancer. Metastasis refers to a situation where the cancer has spread beyond its point of origin and has traveled throughout the body. According to the American Cancer Society, metastatis commonly involves the cancer spreading throughout the bones and bone marrow, causing a variety of undesirable symptoms.
Terminal Liver Cancer Symptoms
Towards the end, the patient afflicted with terminal liver cancer will suffer from localized pain in the bones, overall weight loss and the occurrence of widespread muscle wasting (atrophy). These symptoms indicate that the cancer cells are beginning to win their fight against the body's normal processes, signaling that the end might be uncomfortably near.
Terminal Liver Cancer Treatment
When treatment options have failed and cancer has progressed to its end-stage, the focus of medical attention shifts from attempting to defeat the cancer to mitigating the symptoms to make the patient as comfortable as possible. As decreased bone density is often a resultant symptom of metastatis, the patient might be relegated to a wheelchair to avoid inadvertent breakage, especially if the cancer has spread into a weight-bearing bone such as the thigh.
Terminal liver cancer illustrates the importance of detecting cancer early to begin a treatment regime as soon as is reasonably possible. The survival rate drastically drops as the cancer progresses in stage. According to statistics from EMedTV.com, whereas an individual has a 19-percent survival rate if the cancer has not spread, that drops to a paltry 3.3 percent if the cancer has made its way to distant regions.