After blood tests, it was found that Mr. Liu’s transaminase levels were significantly higher than normal, and his liver function was also abnormal. Imaging reports showed that the surface of the liver was not smooth, with clear soft tissue masses around the edges, and its density was uneven. In the end, Mr. Liu’s condition was diagnosed as liver cancer, which had already developed to the middle stage.
This is undoubtedly a bolt from the blue for Mr. Liu’s family. Mr. Liu himself was also full of doubts about his condition, and he didn’t even believe the test results. He repeatedly asked the doctor: “Is it just a little abdominal discomfort, I can’t eat, how could it be liver cancer? Doctor, you must have made a mistake!”
In fact, many clinical people, like Mr. Liu, did not believe that the disease was true when they were diagnosed with liver cancer. The reason for this situation is not only related to the high concealment of liver cancer, but also related to people’s ignorance of the early symptoms of liver cancer. Next, let me introduce liver cancer to you.
The liver is one of the five internal organs. It is located on the upper right side of the abdomen, above the stomach and below the diaphragm. The liver is reddish brown, crisp and soft in texture, and weighs 1200-1600g. It is the largest gland in the human body. Some people call the liver the “big general” mainly because of its powerful functions, which are responsible for the metabolism of hormones and vitamins, secretion and excretion of bile, detoxification, hematopoiesis and storage in the body.
When the human body is affected by factors such as genetics, viral hepatitis, alcoholism, and eating moldy food, malignant lesions may occur in liver cells and cause liver cancer. In particular, China, as a major hepatitis B country, has a higher risk of liver cancer than other countries.
According to statistics in 2020, there are 410,000 new liver cancer patients in China, and 390,000 people died of liver cancer. According to these two data, the mortality rate of liver cancer is as high as 95%, and liver cancer poses a great threat to the lives and health of Chinese people. Most of these patients who died of liver cancer have a characteristic, that is, when the disease is discovered, it is already in the middle or late stage.
Because liver cancer is not sensitive to chemical drugs and radiation therapy, most of the treatments for liver cancer are surgical resection, liver transplantation, vascular intervention, and radiofrequency ablation. If the disease is at an early stage and the diameter of a single tumor is less than 5 centimeters, surgery to remove the cancerous cells can help patients achieve a 5-year survival rate of more than 70%.
If the disease is in the middle stage, the 5-year survival rate is about 40-70%, and in the advanced stage, the 5-year survival rate is less than 10%. It can be seen that early detection of liver cancer can help patients survive longer. If you find 3 kinds of abnormalities in the skin, you must be alert to liver cancer.
1. Yellow skin
Most Chinese people are of yellow race, so their skin is generally white and slightly yellow. After being exposed to the sun for a long time, the color of the skin will deepen, but after recuperation and care, it can return to its original color.
In addition, if you eat foods high in carotene for a long time, the body cannot fully absorb and metabolize it, and carotene will enter the blood and deposit under the skin, making the skin yellow. In this case, after stopping taking carotene for a period of time, the skin will return to normal. In addition, liver cancer can also cause yellowing of the skin, which is one of the main symptoms of liver cancer.
When liver cancer occurs, the patient’s skin will be yellow and even black. Because the lesions of liver cancer have caused oppression on the intrahepatic bile ducts, the bile secreted by the liver cannot be discharged smoothly, and bile stasis occurs. more and more yellow.
In addition, the occurrence of liver cancer will lead to the destruction of a large number of liver cells. When it is destroyed, the liver cells release a large amount of bilirubin, which enters the blood along with the circulatory system, making the skin, sclera and other parts of the person more and more yellow. This situation is clinically known as jaundice.
After jaundice occurs, not only will the person’s skin turn yellow, but it will also cause the person to discharge dark yellow or strong tea-colored urine.
2. Skin itching
When the skin is stimulated by foreign bodies, mosquito bites or rashes after allergies, itching symptoms will appear. Usually, the itching symptoms will disappear after scratching and using anti-itch ointment. And liver problems can also cause skin itching.
It is understood that most patients with liver disease will also have skin itching symptoms, especially those with primary biliary cholangitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, liver cirrhosis, and liver cancer have a higher frequency of itching symptoms.
For example, after the occurrence of liver cancer, the tumor cells will oppress the bile duct or the liver cells will be damaged, which will block the bile duct and cause the bile to flow back into the blood. When the bilirubin in the blood rises, it will cause bilirubinemia, and the sensory nerve endings of the skin are stimulated by bile salts, which will send out itching signals.
Itching symptoms in patients with liver cancer may occur locally or throughout the body, and the degree of itching varies. Especially when sleeping at night or when the weather is hot, patients will feel more intense itching. Moreover, women may also experience obvious itching symptoms due to excessive fluctuations in hormones during the premenstrual period.
When itching symptoms occur, it is difficult to relieve the itching even with medication. Patients will involuntarily scratch the itch with their hands. However, frequent scratching with hands will cause the skin to be damaged due to excessive stimulation, and it is also easy to cause infection, folliculitis or lichenification. In severe cases, sleep quality and mood disorders will be affected, and the quality of life of patients will be reduced.
3. Red spots on the skin
Red dots appear on the skin, which may be spider nevus or bleeding spots.
Among them, spider nevus is formed by the expansion of capillaries. If you observe carefully, you can see red dots extending outwards with thin small blood vessels. It looks like a small spider, and it will fade when pressed. This situation may be a physiological phenomenon that occurs during puberty or pregnancy, or it may be caused by diseases such as rheumatism, lupus erythematosus, viral hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
The reason why liver cancer can cause spider nevus is because the liver is an important organ for metabolism and detoxification. If there is a problem with it, toxins cannot be excreted normally, and estrogen cannot be normally inactivated. Estrogen will circulate to all parts of the body with blood circulation. Under the stimulation of estrogen, capillaries in the neck, chest, upper arms and other parts may expand, causing spider veins to appear on the skin.
In addition, the small red spots on the skin may not be spider nevus, but bleeding spots. This kind of bleeding point looks different from spider nevus, because it does not protrude from the skin surface, there is no bloodshot around it, and it will not fade when pressed.
The reason for this is that after the liver is invaded by cancer cells, the number of platelets decreases and the coagulation function decreases. If the local capillaries rupture, blood spots or erythema will form. These blood spots or erythema will gradually subside after a period of time. Especially after being impacted and squeezed by external forces, the skin is more prone to bleeding spots.
Liver cancer is a disease that is very good at “disguising”, because the liver itself has a relatively strong compensatory function, so after the early discomfort, the liver function can be compensated. A series of uncomfortable symptoms will not appear until the liver cells are more seriously damaged and the compensatory function can no longer maintain normal liver function.
In addition to the above-mentioned skin manifestations, patients with liver cancer may also experience symptoms such as liver pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, fever, and ascites.
For example, the pain caused by liver cancer is mostly dull pain, irritation or distending pain, and the pain is located in the upper right abdomen or middle upper abdomen, especially after sleeping at night or after overwork, the pain symptoms are more obvious. Due to the proximity of the liver to the stomach, the liver increases in size after liver cancer, which may cause pressure on the stomach, causing symptoms such as abdominal distension and loss of appetite.
Moreover, the liver is also responsible for secreting bile, which helps in the digestion of food. When liver cancer occurs, bile cannot be secreted normally, so the digestive function also declines, causing people to experience discomfort symptoms such as abdominal distension, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.
When liver cancer develops further, cancer cells cause more invasions to the body, which may cause cancerous fever or infectious fever. If complications occur, the immune system will also have an immune response, causing the body temperature to rise to 37.5-38°C, and in severe cases, the body temperature can reach above 39°C.
It is worth mentioning that the fever symptoms caused by liver cancer may subside in a short period of time after taking the medicine, but it is easy to recur. If you find that your body temperature rises repeatedly, it is best to be vigilant.
After liver cancer occurs, symptoms such as yellowing, itching, and red spots may appear on the skin. Once these abnormalities appear, it is recommended to go to the hospital in time to judge the condition through blood routine, imaging, liver cancer markers, liver puncture and other examinations. After the diagnosis of liver cancer, patients should establish the determination to fight cancer, actively cooperate with treatment, strengthen physical recuperation, and strive for more 5-year survival rate.