FAQ - liver neoplasms
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What is the connection between malignant neoplasms and crabs?

The more common term for malignant neoplasms, cancer, is Latin for crab, and the word "carcinogen," meaning a cancer-causing agent, comes from the Greek word for crab, "karkinos." What is the connection between these two seemingly unrelated things?

Cancer, both the disease and the astronomical constellation, derive from the Latin cancer or cancrum, meaning crab. The astrological sign, of course, is said to resemble a crab and the disease was so named by the ancient Greek physician Galen (129-200 A.D.) who noted the similarity between a certain type of tumor with a crab as well—the swollen veins around the tumor resembling the legs of a crab.

Old English adopted cancer directly from Latin and used it for a variety of spreading sores and ulcers. This early sense survives in the modern word canker. From c.1000 in a manuscript called Læce Boc (Leech Book), collected in Oswald Cockayne’s Leechdoms, Wortcunning, and Starcraft of Early England, Vol. II, 1865:

Gemeng wið þam dustum, clæm on ðone cancer.
(Mix with the dust, smear on the cancer.)

And from Wyclif’s 2 Timothy, 1382:

The word of hem crepith as a kankir

The word was being applied specifically to the disease we today call cancer by the beginning of the 17th century. From Philemon Holland’s translation of Pliny’s Historie of the World:

Cancer is a swelling or sore comming of melancholy bloud, about which the veins appeare of a blacke or swert colour, spread in manner of a Creifish clees.

The astronomical sense of cancer is from the Latin name for the constellation of the crab. The name was known to the Anglo-Saxons, but only as a Latin name and was not assimilated into English until the Middle English period. It appears in Ælfric’s De Temporibus Anni, written c.993, in a list of the constellations of the Zodiac:

Feorða • Cancer • þæt is Crabba
(Fourth, Cancer, that is the crab.)

The Anglicized name appears c.1391 in Chaucer’s Treatise on the Astrolabe:

In this heved of cancer is the grettist declinacioun northward of the sonne...this signe of cancre is clepid the tropik of Somer.
(At this first point (head) of cancer is the greatest declination northward of the sun…this sign of cancer is named the tropic of summer.)

(Source: Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition)  (+ info)

What could elevated liver enzymes mean in a newborn besides liver disease?

My 2 1/2 month old son has had elevated liver enzymes since birth. We saw a liver specialist today and he said he doesn't think it's any kind of liver disease, but could be other things. Only he didn't explain what the other things are.

A liver specialist would be a hepatologist. (A gastroenterologist deals with the entire digestive system) It may not be a liver problem but could be a biliary problem. The liver makes bile that flows through tube like structures, known as ducts, under the liver to the gallbladder and then to the intestines. The bile helps emulsify the fats we eat so they can be digested.

These problems comes to mind:
Biliary atresia where bile ducts are absent or injured, causing bile to back up into the liver. Congenital Biliary cysts, or cystic fibrosis.

However, in some cases, some patients have elevation of these enzyme levels and it is normal for them.

There are different hereditary liver diseases, but you said it wasn't the liver...however, here is a listing of some of them:
***Hemochromatosis (abnormal iron accumulation )
***Wilson's disease (abnormal copper accumulation in the liver).
*** Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency which is the absence of this specific enzyme in the liver
***Galctosemia is a rare genetic disorder that hampers the body's ability to process the sugar galactose. Fructuse intolerance
***Urea cycle defects (ornithine carbomoyltransferase deficiency)
***Glycogen storage disease where there is an inability to properly utilize sugar.
....Amino acid disorders[tyrosinemia),
---Bile acid disorders
....Carbohydrate disorders (eg fructose intolerance, galactosemia,)
....Lipid disorders (abetalipoproteinemia)
Inherited diseases interfere with the way the liver produces, processes and stores enzymes, proteins, metals, and other substances.
....Phenylketonuria is a rare condition in which a baby is born without the ability to properly break down an amino acid called phenylalanine. It is inherited...both parents have to pass on the gene.

The liver enzymes are made by the liver cells. The one liver enzyme would naturally be elevated and that is the Alkaline phosphatase...since the child is growing and this is elevated because of the growth of the bones. The doctor is probably also looking at the liver functions tests ( Bilirubin, Albumin, INR, Pt, Ptt) and also the viral tests for hepatitis A,B,C,etc. To look up these tests and the liver enzymes (ALT, AST, GGT, and Alkaline Phosphatase), here is a link to click on:

Don't be afraid to ask questions to your son's doctor...you are paying him for his advice, diagnosis, and time. He may not know, without testing being done, exactly what the problem is off hand. When he gets the results of all testing back...he will then be able to give you more information and a possible diagnosis. I will tell you that he is probably having more blood testing done and will compare it to the first set...as blood testing is not always 100% accurate and many things can affect these tests.

I hope this information has been of help to you. Best wishes  (+ info)

Is it good for your liver to drink alcohol?

I know that too much alcohol does harm to the liver, but my cousin said that a little bit of alcohol is actually good because it "trains" the liver for when you get older and have to face illnesses. He also said that never-drinking alcohol could actually be bad because your liver's not getting "practice." I hope you get the jist.

Is he right?

i'm not sure if your cousin may just be 'guessing' that this is the case as it may seem sensible. a thought that comes to my mind would be alcohol is bad for and therefore weakens the liver. but that is just my guess, i'm not an expert. i do hear a glass of wine a day is good for you. research this on google for deeper explanations.  (+ info)

How does a liver transplant work if the donor is still alive?

I watched this documentary where the father was donating his liver to his son.

How is this possible, do they extract pieces, can you live without a liver?

I believe the living donor can spare up to 60% of his/her liver to the recipient. Each person will grow back their missing portion in about 6 weeks. It's an amazing organ.  (+ info)

What can damage the liver apart from drinking too much alcohol?

A lot of people know that drinking too much alcohol can damage the liver. What else can damage the liver? Taking too much of certain medications, contracting hepatitis of all kinds...
Anything else?

Anything that goes through it.  (+ info)

How soon can the liver recover after prolongued heavy drinking?

I've heard that the liver can regenerate itself so as to, in effect, cancel the effects of alcohol abuse providing someone abstains for long enough to allow the liver to actually do that. Is this correct and, if so, how long would this process take?

Not if you have Cirrhosis of the liver...but yes the liver can recover to a certain extent depending on the amount of damage.  (+ info)

What's the difference between liver pain and right chest pain?

I feel pain around my right chest. Would that be liver pain? What's the different or major difference between liver pain and chest pain?

If the pain comes after eating, I'd say it's more likely a gallbladder issue and not a liver issue. This is definitely something to speak to your PCP about or a gastroenterologist if you have one already.

A HIDA scan w/ CCK was the ONLY test that showed the disease and they ran several on me (including a gallbladder ultrasound w/ cck)

Good luck!


Gallstones - Symptoms

The most common symptom of gallstones is pain in the stomach area or in the upper right part of the belly, under the ribs.

The pain may:

* Develop suddenly in the center of the upper belly (epigastric area) and spread to the right upper back or shoulder blade area. It is usually hard to get comfortable; moving around does not make the pain go away.
* Prevent you from taking normal or deep breaths.
* Last 15 minutes to 24 hours. Continuous pain for 1 to 5 hours is common.
* Begin at night and be severe enough to wake you.
* Occur after meals.

Gallstone pain can cause vomiting, which may relieve some of the belly (abdominal) pain and pressure. Pain that occurs with a fever, nausea, and vomiting or loss of appetite may be a sign of inflammation or infection of the gallbladder (acute cholecystitis). Symptoms that may mean that a gallstone is blocking the common bile duct include:

* Yellowing of the skin and the white part of the eyes (jaundice).
* Dark urine.
* Light-colored stools.
* A fever and chills.

There are many other conditions that cause similar symptoms, including heartburn, pain caused by a heart attack, and liver problems. Stomach flu (gastroenteritis) and food poisoning also can cause symptoms similar to gallstones. Diarrhea and vomiting occur with the flu and food poisoning, but the pain tends to come and go rather than be constant. Also, pain with these conditions may be felt all over the belly, rather than in one spot.

Belly pain that comes and goes (rather than being constant) and that occurs with nausea and vomiting and possibly a mild fever is more likely to be caused by stomach flu or food poisoning than by gallstones. This is especially true if others around you are sick with similar symptoms.  (+ info)

What does it mean when my liver enzymes are elevated and how could it affect my health?

I had blood work done four months ago and my liver enzymes were elevated. I had my blood tested again this week and they are saying my liver enzymes are still elevated. What could be doing his to me and how is it going to affect my health in the future.

This link will tell you, from a professional, why your liver
enzymes may be elevated:

The liver enzymes are known as the ALT and AST.
There is also other tests that show how the liver functions,
known as Bilirubin, INR, and Albumin and Alka Phos.

Since you said they are stating it is the liver enzymes.
The ALT is mainly made in the liver. The AST is not
only made in the liver but other organs as well. That
is why the doctors look first at the ALT level.
When the cells of the liver become damaged, these
enzymes are released into the blood and picked up
on your blood test. If this is definitely the liver causing
this elevation, it will usually start out as inflammation.
Inflammation can be controlled and go away with
medication. If the inflammation is not treated,
then the cells of the liver can die and this is known as

Knowing your past medical history and seeing your lab
work and other tests results and also knowing your
family history would tell the doctor much more whether
he should suspect liver disease. There are many
different causes of this disease as you will see in the
link I posted for cirrhosis.

There are things a patient, who has a liver problem, can
do now to try to prevent any further damage that may be
causes: Avoid alcohol beverages, stay away from chemicals,
be around only healthy people, inform the doctor of every
medication you are taking which includes over the counter
meds and herb and any medications prescribed by other
doctors. Why? Alcohol, in some people is very toxic to
the liver...liver damage can be caused by mixing drugs with
alcohol also. Being exposed to harsh chemicals...like
carbon tetrachloride can cause liver damage. If your body
is trying to heal, it is best to protect yourself from others who
may pass on to you another illness and make your body
weaker. Almost every medication that enters your body,
no matter how it is taken, goes through the liver to be
broken down....and some medications have warnings that
they can cause damage to the liver. The doctor has to
weigh the pros and cons of using the medication. It is
well known that many NSAID med (pain medication brought
over the counter) carry this warning on the box.

If this is liver damage, the doctor may do further testing.
This would include more blood work, ultrasound, Ct scan.
The very best test for liver evaluation is the liver biopsy.
The best doctor to be with is a Hepatologist.

I hope this information is of some help to you.
If you do find out it is liver disease...here is a site to
look at. This is a book written by a hepatologist and
is the very first book I read. You can read articles free
on line from this book.

Best wishes  (+ info)

What causes elevated liver enzymes in an otherwise healthy person?

My mother (early 60s) walks every day, eats in moderation, drinks occasionally, and does not smoke. Her blood test came back for elevated liver enzymes, which is very concerning, since she seems very healthy.

No one blood testing is 100% accurate...it
takes more than one to be sure.

The liver enzymes are a hint that there may
be liver cell damage. However, The
ALT enzyme is the most specific to the
liver diagnosis, since it is mostly made in the
liver...the other enzymes are made in the liver
but also, in about the same quantities, in other

It takes more blood tests to truly confirm
it is a liver problem. These tests include
the liver functions tests (Bilirubin, INR,
Albumin, Pt, PTT) which shows how well
the cells of the liver are able to perform
the functions to keep the body well and
also the viral testing to see if a virus is
using the liver cells to replicate itself
(like Hepatitis A,B,C,etc).

Patients who have liver disease, will not
know they have it. The liver is very quiet
about damage done to it, until the cells
start to die off and the functions deteriorate.
They may appear tired or sometimes have
flu like symptoms...this could be mistaken
for other medical ills.

Some of the things that can cause liver damage
that doesn't involve alcohol is:
medication toxification
chemical exposure
hereditary conditions
autoimmune disease
fatty liver disease
biliary obstruction/malformation/infection
cancer or tumors/cysts
cardiac problems
parasitic infections
viral infections
and there are others.

Some of these liver enzymes can be elevated
if you have trouble with the bones or
if there is a biliary problem, have heart problems,
or have exercised alot before the testing.

If her enzymes stay elevated...they may
examine her to see if they can feel if the
liver is enlarged. If the cells of the liver
are damaged, the immune system of
the body responds and causes inflammation
in the liver which causes the liver to enlarge
in size. If this happens to be the case,
they may do an ultrasound or Ct scan
to look at the liver. She should be referred
to a gastroenterologist or hepatologist if
they see an enlargement or tumors or if
the blood isn't flowing well through the liver.

It is difficult to wait for the next blood tests
results...but, at times, they will return to
normal. In some people, elevated levels
are their normal for them.

Hope things work out that she doesn't
have any problems. Best wishes.  (+ info)

Seeking info regarding the liver. How much liver can the body safely function on?

If someone had part of their liver removed, where would the scar be (if any) and can the body actually function on half a liver? Does it grow back? Myth or fiction? Can you have half your liver removed with keyhole surgery?

May seem queer, but these questions i would love the answer to for peace of mind. Or, any websites i can visit to give me the answers to these questions.

The body can function with up to 80% of the liver cut out. It also will grow back in about a year, not sure about the keyhole...but I had a friend with liver cancer...she had 80% removed and its all grown back cancer free....  (+ info)

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