Spots on Your Liver
With cirrhosis comes scans and look-sees at your liver every 6 months. Lately, I’ve been hearing all this talk about spots on the liver. Is it cancer? Are they nodules? What if it’s just a lesion? When doctors start talking about any shadows on a your liver, it’s a huge blow. Your mind gets numb. It’s like you can hear what’s going on around you, but you can’t. So you stare and ask a bunch of questions. Never mind that you won’t remember the answers. This blog answers some of your questions about spots on your liver.
What we want to know: Is it cancer or not cancer? I knew that day that it was malignant. My doctor and nurse said additional testing would take place, but I knew them well enough to see the look in their faces. The wondermous screening done today allows doctors to see quite a lot. If they tell you not to worry after the MRI, don’t worry.
You’ll probably start with an ultrasound. Then the CAT Scan, and then they’ll move toward an MRI. You may have some waiting time and here’s some info that just may comfort you!
Benign –Noncancerous or Malignant – Cancerous– The scans will tell your doctor if it’s a killer or not. Some spots show up as solid masses and others are fluid filled. Some have a blood supply, while others do not. Many of these spots are not even a cancer and they never will be. Others can be the beginning of cancer. It’s hard to pin down so lets talk about it.
Liver Adenoma is not very common. It’s really rare in men and in women, it can arise because of hormone replacement or oral contraceptives. Most doctors will stop the hormone and the tumor will shrink.
Hyperplasia is often confused with an adenoma. It is fairly common and doesn’t need treatment. Don’t be surprised if your doctor doesn’t get real uptight with this one.
Fatty Change can show up as a spot on your liver. This is usually caused by fatty liver disease where the fat distribution is not even. No treatment is required.
Hemangioma tumors are fairly common in both men and women. They don’t have any symptoms and rarely need treatment.
Cyst – Sometimes it is simply a cyst. Your doctor may or may not need to drain it. With Polycystic Liver Disease, they can multiply. Eventually, it may create a need for a liver transplant.
Granulomas appears as spots on your liver. They are inflamed areas that do not cause symptoms. The treatment is usually to find out what is causing the inflammation. It may be autoimmune, tuberculosis, or a any of a bunch of other infections.
HCC or Hepatocellular Carcinoma rarely has any symptoms. It is the most serious spot that can be found on your liver. Primary liver cancer is when the tumor originates on the liver. From there it can spread to other parts of your body. Check out the awesome treatment options – See my blogs on Tace and Ablation It is also a fast track to a transplant. The goal is to keep the tumor shrunk and not spreading or multiplying while you wait on a transplant.
Metastatic Liver Cancer is when the cancer begins in another part of the body and then spreads to the liver. The liver is the filter for everything and that makes it easier to spread from there.
For those of you with cirrhosis, I hope your doctor is doing surveillance. (They actually use that word to describe testing) If you have a spot, Everything becomes scary. Know that, and prepare to feel like you got the wind knocked out of you. This feeling will go away…. Never. I still am blown away by the whole process.
If you have a spot on Your liver, my heart goes out to you. I truly want you to gather up some hope while you’re waiting. Love Love, Karen:)