By: Dr. Donna Powell & Dr. Renee M. Marchioni Beery with Gastro MD

October is ‘Liver Cancer Awareness Month’, a time to spread awareness about this disease that impacts one of the largest organs in the body. The liver is vital to our health because it filters harmful substances from our blood. It also stores sugar that our bodies use for energy.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Liver cancer poses unique challenges when it comes to treatment, but most of the time, it is treatable. Cancer occurs when the DNA in cells mutate, causing cells to grow out of control and form a mass of cancerous cells or tumors. There are two different types of Liver Cancer – primary and secondary. Primary liver cancer begins in the liver tissue, while secondary metastatic liver cancer occurs in another part of the body and spreads to the liver. The treatment you have will depend on which type of cancer you have and how much it has spread.

Having an underlying condition such as a chronic hepatitis infection is one of the known causes of liver cancer. Other liver cancers have no known causes. However, there are factors that increase the risk of primary cancer, such as:

●      Being overweight or having obesity
●      Having a cigarette smoking habit
●      Drinking alcohol regularly or excessively
●      Exposure to aflatoxins

The following are some underlying health conditions that can increase your risk for liver cancer:

●      Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV)
●      Cirrhosis
●      Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
●      Diabetes
●      Hemochromatosis

●      Wilson’s disease

Importance of Detoxing Liver and Gut

Detoxing your liver and gut is extremely important! Why should you start NOW? A healthy liver and gut help ensure your body maintains a healthy level of blood sugar, supplies glucose to your blood when necessary, and removes excess glucose from your blood. When your liver and gut are healthy, you lower your risk for the underlying conditions that can increase your risk for liver cancer.

The risk factors for liver cancer include unhealthy habits and some underlying conditions that can be prevented or managed by lifestyle changes. Therefore, there are things that you can do to help reduce your risk for liver cancer, starting with focusing on liver and gut health.

Some signs that your liver needs a detox include being overweight, being tired all the time, producing fatty floating stools, and having new allergies or sensitivities. Another reason to detox your liver and gut includes overexposure to toxins, which include toxins from fast foods and unhealthy snacks. Here are 4 simple ways to detox your liver and stomach:

●      Drink more water. Increasing your water intake is a simple way to help your liver move toxins out of your body faster. Aim for 4 liters of room temperature water each day, spreading it out over specific intervals such as upon waking up, during meals, and at least two hours before going to sleep.

●      Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet is characterized by healthy proteins, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. When promoting liver and gut health, you should avoid red meat, alcohol, added sugar, fried foods, added salt, white bread, and white rice.

●      Exercise regularly. Achieve a healthy body mass index for your height by eating a well-balanced diet and engaging in regular exercise. Exercise also helps increase fatty acid oxidation, improve blood flow to the liver, decrease liver inflammation, reduce fat in the liver, and reduce body fat.

●      Drink alcohol in moderation. Excessive alcohol use can lead to liver disease and digestive problems, which can increase your risk for liver cancer.