Demystified: Liver cysts, hepatic hemangioma and liver cancer

With the rapid development of my country’s social economy, the living standards of more and more residents are steadily improving. Begin to pay attention to your own health status, especially the progress of medical imaging technology, which is of great significance to the early identification and prevention of diseases. Recently, during a physical examination, Aunt Zhang found that she had multiple “blisters” in her liver. So what is this disease? The doctor told Aunt Zhang that she was suffering from a disease called liver cyst.

Liver cysts, the popular saying is that the liver has “blister”. A few cysts contain clear, transparent fluid that resembles a water balloon, but most cysts, especially the smaller ones, have nothing in them. Liver cysts are usually found during physical examination and B overtime. There may be one or even several blisters in the liver. The large diameter can reach 10 cm, while the small diameter Only 1 cm. People with liver cysts usually do not experience discomfort, nor do they affect liver function or develop liver cancer. So this kind of cyst is usually nothing to worry about. If the cyst grows too large, there may be compression symptoms, such as discomfort in the upper abdomen and fullness after eating. Ultrasonography has the highest diagnostic value for liver cysts. In addition to ultrasound examination, liver scan, hepatic angiography and CT examination also have certain value, but most patients do not need these examinations, and can be diagnosed by ultrasound examination. Whether it is a single or multiple liver cysts, small and asymptomatic can be left untreated. If there is secondary infection, antibiotics can be used. If the cyst is too large and there is compression symptoms, puncture and fluid extraction, cyst excision, etc. can be used1. Therefore, liver cysts and cancer are “not related”!

In addition to liver cysts, there is another disease that can be easily confused with liver cancer. It is a liver hemangioma! Hepatic hemangioma is a benign lesion different from cyst and liver cancer. It is a substantial mass formed by congenital malformations of liver blood vessels, with different sizes, generally 1 to 3 cm in diameter. Smaller hemangiomas do not have any symptoms. They are often found during physical examination. The common manifestation on B-ultrasound is a brighter mass. Generally, a typical small hemangioma can be diagnosed by B-ultrasound. Images of larger hemangiomas are often atypical and difficult to distinguish from other tumors of the liver. But it has a feature that the lump can be seen to be squashed after pressing, and the image can be restored to its previous state after the pressure is removed. In addition, color Doppler ultrasound can be done to observe the blood flow inside. If it is still difficult to diagnose, CT, MRI, etc. can be done for further identification. Once diagnosed as hemangioma, you don’t need to worry, you only need to do B-ultrasound regularly. Larger hemangiomas sometimes cause other complications, which require surgical resection, which is more thorough. Different from hepatic hemangioma, liver cancer is a cancer formed in the liver tissue, and it is one of the most common and harmful malignant tumors in my country and the world. The disease progresses rapidly, often without clinical symptoms in the early stage, but often cannot be surgically removed in the late stage, and the natural progression is generally faster. At present, it is believed that early diagnosis and early treatment are the key to improving curative effect2.

In recent years, with the advancement of medicine, liver cancer treatment has entered a stage of multiple treatment methods and multiple disciplines. The rise of the multidisciplinary team (MDT) model has reduced the limitations of liver cancer treatment. At present, the treatment methods of liver cancer include liver resection, liver transplantation, local ablation therapy, hepatic artery interventional therapy, radiotherapy, systemic therapy (such as targeted therapy, immunotherapy, etc.) and other means3 . With the development of imaging and liver surgery, the surgical resection rate and 5-year survival rate of liver cancer in my country have been greatly improved. Liver cancer patients should increase their confidence and actively fight against the disease. Many people have survived for more than 5 years or even decades. References:

  1. Jiangsu Health Care.2020(2):20.
  2. Yuan Haixia,Wang Wenping.Medical Reference.2001(3):21-22.
  3. Guidelines for Primary Liver Cancer Patients of China Anti-Cancer Association. 2021.