Liver cancer is the eighth most common cancer in the world. Without a good functioning liver, detoxification and many other important functions of your body cannot take place. If you do not detect liver cancer early enough, death is a possibility. Liver cancer develops when liver cells multiply at abnormal rates. They then invade healthy neighbouring cells or healthy parts of the same organ. Cancer cells soon spread beyond their original location to other parts and organs to establish new tumours, in a process called metastasis.

Your liver weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. It is the biggest internal organ of your body. Despite being so heavy, you may not even realise the presence of a liver inside of you since it is hidden in your right upper abdomen, underneath and protected by your right rib cage. Your liver is an extremely busy organ, tasked with numerous functions.

Your liver, just like any other organ in your body, is comprised of cells. Cells are living things. They get born and then, they die after some time. Your body is always producing new cells to replace the old and dead ones. This process has to be tightly regulated. If not, distrastrous consequences can develop.

Cancer cells interefere with the normal functioning of this process. For detoxification, your liver filters your blood to remove toxins and produces bile to help in the digestion of fat. It selects nutrients that can be used from your blood and keeping stores for future use. The liver makes the different proteins that your body needs, including enzymes, hormones, antibodies, and other substances required for the normal functions of your body. It is the power house of your body since it is the primary source of energy.

There are two types of liver cancer, primary and secondary. Primary liver cancer means the tumour originated the liver. Ninety percent of primary liver cancer is hepatocellular cancer (abbreviated HCC). HCC originates from hepatocytes, the liver cells responsible for most of its functions. Other types of primary liver cancer are less common. They include cholangiocarcinoma, a cancer arising from bile ducts within the liver and hepatoblastoma, which occurs in children, and gallbladder cancer.

Secondary liver cancer means the cancer began in another part of your body and spread (metastasised) to the liver. In secondary liver cancer, patients do not have "liver cancer" in a technical sense. Patients are actually experiencing metastases to their liver.

For liver cancer, sex and age plays a part, as with diet and lifestyle habits, to increased risks. Men are found to be 2.8 times more likely to be affected than women. Your risk also increases after the age of 40. High rates have been noted in China,Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and the Philippines. Studies also show that Chinese and Koreans in Los Angeles and among Chinese in the San Francisco Bay area are more subsceptible although those rates are about half of mainland China rates. A diet that comprises of plenty of red meats, highly processed and preserved foods, with little emphasis on green vegetables and fruits is generally considered bad for liver health.

The most important risk factor for liver cancer is hepatitis B virus (HBV). Patients who are located in areas with high rates of hepatitis also have high rates of HCC; conversely, HCC patients are far more likely to be hepatitis B carriers. Studies also show that men are twice or thrice more likely to develop HCC. On the other hand, women demonstrate greater survival rates than men at any stage of liver cancer.

Aflatoxins are the most potent carcinogens on liver cells per unit weight. Aflatoxins are toxins produced by an Aspergillus fungus that grows on many crops. These have been suspected to be agents for human HCC. While nothing conclusive has yet been established, you can reduce liver cancer risks by avoiding foods that are positive for aflatoxin.

It is difficult to detect early symptoms of liver cancer as there are no specific symptoms for it. One sign to look out for is pain in the right upper quadrant of your body. Another common sign for any type of cancer is unexplained sudden weight loss. Your best line of defence is to take preventative measures to protect your liver on a regular basis. Reduce your consumption of foods that are difficult to digest, processed and toxic to your body. Do not over rely on drugs and also go on a liver cleansing diet.

Author's Bio: 

Sandra Kim Leong is a author and writer on detox diet. For more free tips, please visit her site at