Causes of Liver Cancer in Humans
The causes of liver cancer and how changes in cells in liver cancer are still unclear. However, the risk of liver cancer seems to increase with liver damage, such as cirrhosis. However, not all cases of cirrhosis will lead to liver cancer.
The link between cirrhosis and liver cancer
Liver cancer is closely related to cirrhosis, where scar tissue builds up in the liver. In the state of cirrhosis, the normal liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue so the liver becomes hardened. As a result of cirrhosis, liver function begins to decline. Keep in mind that not all patients with cirrhosis will develop liver cancer.
In developing countries such as Indonesia, cirrhosis is commonly caused by hepatitis B and C. viral infections. In addition, cirrhosis can also be caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, excessive alcohol consumption, and autoimmune disease.
Hepatitis B virus infection
Hepatitis B is a virus that spreads through contaminated blood. In addition the virus also spreads through other body fluids such as saliva, semen, and vaginal fluids. Most people with hepatitis B suffer the same symptoms as those with liver cancer and are at risk of widespread scarring of the liver. The scar is the liver tissue that forms when normal and soft tissues undergo the process of injury.
Ethnic factors are suspected to affect the potential risk of hepatitis B infection developing into liver cancer. Asians infected with hepatitis B have a higher risk of above-average liver cancer, regardless of whether they also have liver cirrhosis or not. As with other hepatitis B patients, their risk for liver cancer only increases if they also have cirrhosis or other liver diseases such as hepatitis C. The combination of smoking and hepatitis B makes the risk of developing liver cancer higher.
Hepatitis C infection
In the long run, people with hepatitis C can experience inflammation and damage to the liver. If you are a person with hepatitis C, keep yourself away from cigarettes. People with hepatitis C who smoke more at risk of liver cancer later in life.
Indonesia is one of the countries with the highest rates of hepatitis C in Southeast Asia. One of the methods of spread of hepatitis C in Indonesia is the use of contaminated needles.
Non alcoholic fatty liver disease
The exact cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) remains unclear. However, this disease is often associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver is a common condition and does not cause obvious symptoms in most sufferers. The fats that accumulate in the liver tissue cause this disease.
But in some people, the buildup of fat in high levels can cause inflammation of the liver. Over time this inflammation will cause scarring of the liver.
Due to bad liquor
Other than other organs, the liver is an organ with strong resistance. This is because the liver cells are able to regenerate after injury.
Every time you consume liquor, this powerful and soft organ will filter out harmful substances in the alcohol from your blood. This filtering causes some liver cells to die.
The liver cells are indeed able to regenerate making new cells. But how powerful is this organ, excessive alcohol consumption and in the long run can damage the liver permanently. If you continue to consume excessive liquor for years, your heart will lose the ability to regenerate.
Factors from Other Risks
Liver cancer is also triggered by several other factors as follows:
- Autoimmune hepatitis
This rare genetic condition arises when the immune system or the body’s natural resistance that normally attacks infections actually attacks healthy liver cells. The risk of autoimmune hepatitis against liver cancer is smaller than patients with cirrhosis or other liver disorders.
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
The underlying cause of primary biliary cirrhosis remains unknown. This disease attacks the bile ducts, the pipelines that function to drain the bile into the digestive system. Damage to the bile ducts then causes bile buildup in the liver. This buildup damages the organ and causes cirrhosis. Approximately 5% of patients with advanced biliary tract cirrhosis are expected to develop liver cancer in the future.
About ten percent of people with cirrhosis due to hemokromatosis have liver cancer. Hemochromatosis is a genetic condition when the body stores too much iron absorbed from food. The accumulating iron eventually reaches levels that poison and damage the liver.