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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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How common is liver cancer in alcoholics?

Hello doctor, how common is liver cancer in alcoholics? What causes it and what are the treatment options available? What is the prognosis?
Mon, 9 Nov 2009
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Yes, hepatocellular cancer is quiet common in alcoholics who are in cirrhosis. The cause of liver cancer is usually scarring of the liver. Cirrhosis may be caused by viral hepatitis, primarily hepatitis B and C, alcohol abuse, hemochromatosis, certain autoimmune diseases of the liver, and other diseases that result in chronic inflammation of the liver Aggressive surgery or liver transplantation may be successful in treating small or slow-growing tumors if they are diagnosed early. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments are not usually effective but may be used to shrink large tumors so that surgery has a greater chance of success. The usual outcome is poor, because only 10 - 20% of hepatocellular carcinomas can be removed completely using surgery. If the cancer cannot be completely removed, the disease is usually deadly within 3 to 6 months, although this varies greatly. Survival much longer than this occasionally occurs.
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