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liver cancer

any of several forms of disease characterized by tumours in the liver; benign liver tumours remain in the liver, whereas malignant tumours are, by definition, cancerous. Most malignant liver tumours are hepatomas, also called hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). HCCs account for fewer than 1 percent of U.S. cancers but are common in Africa, Southeast Asia, and China. These tumours begin in the functional cells of the liver and account for 85 percent of all liver cancers. The remaining cancers develop from blood vessels (hemangiosarcomas), small bile ducts, (cholangiocarcinomas), or immature liver cells (hepatoblastomas). Hepatoblastomas occur primarily in children. Treatment and prognosis for liver cancers vary, depending on the type and stage, or degree, of advancement.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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