The liver is largest solid organ in the body and is essential for life. It is involved in many processes of the body, such as producing essential proteins, processing nutrients and detoxification among others.
Primary Liver Cancer also known as Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a primary tumour of the liver cells (heptaocytes) that usually develops in the setting of chronic liver disease, particularly in patients with chronic hepatitis B and C or patients with a strong alcohol consumption history.
In Singapore, it is the 4th most common cancer among men. It affects about 20-30 in every 100,000 people a year. Liver cancer is mainly an Asian disease and is common in South-East Asia, China, Japan and Korea.
The other main cells in the liver are those lining the bile ducts (cholangiocytes), these can also develop in cancer. This is discussed in another section (See Bile duct cancer or Cholangiocarcinoma).
Cancer from other parts of the body can spread to the liver, for example, colon cancer. These are known as secondary liver tumours or metastatic cancers to the liver. This is discussed in another section as well. (See Secondary liver cancer or Liver Metastasis)