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After a heavy storm, a boy walked along the beach throwing the stranded starfish back into the sea.

A man watching shouted "there are too many of them - it won’t make any difference."

As the boy threw another starfish back into the sea, he smiled and replied "it made a difference to that one!"

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Star Throwers
30 Melton Road
Wymondham
Norfolk NR18 0DB

Telephone:
01953 423304

Email:
info@starthrowers.org.uk

Centre is open Monday - Friday 10am to 4pm

Registered Charity in England & Wales
Number: 1162237

Liver cancer

Incidence

There are 3200 new cases in the UK each year which is approximately 5 per 100,000 of population. Males are affected more than females in a ratio of 5:3

The vast majority of liver cancers are not true liver cancer but have spread from some other organ and seeded in the liver.

Risk factors

Chronic alcohol abuse and viral infections such as hepatitis B and C. In Far Eastern countries, food can be contaminated with a fungal infection that produces a substance called aflatoxin which can also cause liver cancer.

Heredity

The inherited condition primary haemochromatosis which is due to excessive storage of iron in the liver is also a risk factor.

Diet

Excess alcohol and the ingestion of nuts or meal infected with aflatoxin.

Symptoms and signs

The commonest symptom is pain under the rib cage on the right side due to swelling of the liver. Other symptoms include swelling of the abdomen due to the presence of fluid associated with poor liver function. Non specific symptoms occur such as weight loss, poor appetite, temperature and a feeling of general malaise. Jaundice may or may not be present.

Treatment

Surgery is the treatment of choice with removal of part of the liver containing the tumour. If it is not possible to remove part of the liver then the liver can be completely removed followed by a liver transplant. However, this is rarely done due a number of reasons such as a limited number of livers available for transplantation.

Other treatments include the injection of a substance to cut off the blood supply to the tumour, placing probes into the tumour during an operation and then freezing these probes with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery) or alternatively using radiofrequency ablation which can be done through the skin or the injection of alcohol directly in to the tumour. The choice depends on the size number and position of the tumour.

If these therapies are not possible then chemotherapy is a further option.

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