Liver Cancer (HCC) Treatment Cost in India – Treatment, Best Doctors & Hospitals

Posted on March 28th, 2020 by Ganesh Gopakumar

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Cost of liver cancer (HCC) treatment in India

The cost of liver transplantation in India is USD38,000-42000

The cost of liver resection (Hepatectomy) is USD4600-5000.

The cost of liver cancer treatment within India varies widely because of the two factors.

Choice of Hospital

Cost varies drastically with the type of hospital you choose. The cost varies drastically when we go from an economy hospital to a premium hospital. The higher cost in premium hospitals is due to the higher room rent, cost for medical care, etc. The quality of healthcare remains the same, but you will get better canteen facilities and luxury.

Choice of City

The overall price is also determined by the choice of the city. The cost of food, accommodation, and transportation are much higher in Tier 1 cities. Hospitals in metro cities also charge higher for medical care. Tier 2 cities are cheaper.

ProcedureDays in hospitalDays outside hospitalTotal days in India
Liver transplant20-244060-64
Hepatectomy6-71016-17

Liver

The liver is a reddish-brown organ with four lobes. It weighs about 1.5kg (3.3lbs) and has a width of 6inches (15cm). The liver is located in the upper-right abdomen and is protected by the ribcage. It is found above the gallbladder, some parts of the pancreas and the intestines. Its main function is detoxification of blood and metabolization of drugs. The blood after digestion passes through the liver for detoxification before going to other parts of the body. The liver also secretes bile which is important for digestion. 

What is Liver Cancer (HCC)?

Liver cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma is the rapid growth of abnormal cells that starts in the liver and may spread to other parts of the body. The primary liver cancers usually spread to the gallbladder, pancreas or other nearby organs quickly. There are also chances of cancer from the surrounding organs which spreads to the liver, which is more common. Cancer from other organs spreading to the liver is more common than cancer that starts in the liver. 

Symptoms

  • Weight loss
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Lack of appetite
  • Jaundice
  • Itching
  • Right shoulder-blade pain
  • White-colored stool
  • Vomiting

Causes

It usually happens due to the mutation of the liver cell (hepatocyte). It can also happen due to other reasons such as:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
  • Cirrhosis of the liver

Diagnosis

  • First of all, a physical examination is required to decide which further tests are needed.
  • Ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs can help to get the image of the liver to determine whether you have cancer. 
  • Blood tests, such as liver function test, cirrhosis test, etc are needed. 
  • A liver biopsy might be suggested to get an idea of what kind of cancer you have, whether it is benign or malignant, and the stage.

Treatment options

The treatment option depends on the stage of cancer you have as well as your liver function. 

Surgery (Liver resection/Hepatectomy)

The process removes the part of the liver with cancer by surgical methods. However, this can be challenging as most people with liver cancer also have liver cirrhosis. In this condition, the person’s liver function would be not good enough. So removing a small part of the liver by surgery will create an inadequate functionality of the liver. Another reason which makes it tough is the larger liver cancer which has spread to other organs of the body.  A hospital stay for about a week is required after the procedure.

In order to access whether or not a person is a good surgical candidate, a doctor will order an imaging test (like a CT scan or MRI) to evaluate the extent of cancer. Blood tests are also done to know your liver function. The best candidate would be someone with a single liver tumor and a good liver function. 

Side effects

  • Blood clots
  • Infection 
  • Pneumonia
  • Anesthesia complications

Liver transplant

This is another surgical option to cure liver cancer and considered better than surgery. It has an added benefit of not only curing cancer but also cirrhosis. In the procedure, the surgeon removes the diseased liver and replaces it with a healthy liver from another person. It is mostly recommended when the tumor is small or surgical removal is not possible because the liver is unhealthy. The hospital stay would come between 20-24 days.

The procedure is limited due to the limited availability of liver for transplantation. 

Side effects

  • Rejection of new liver
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Bone weakening (osteoporosis)
  • Diabetes

Ablation therapy

It is a non-surgical means of killing the HCC cells, using a probe or needle directly into a liver tumor. It has various means to kill tumors:

  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA): High-energy radio waves to heat and kill the cancer cells.
  • Percutaneous ethanol (alcohol) ablation: Alcohol is injected into the cancer cells and kills them.
  • Cryotherapy: Very cold gases are passed through the tumor to freeze the cancer cells. These cells eventually die.
  • Microwave ablation: Heat from microwaves is transmitted into the cancer cells to kill them.

Side effects

  • Bleeding or bruising of skin where the needle or probe is inserted.
  • Damage to surrounding tissues and blood vessels.
  • Infections.
  • Damage to other organs, like the bile duct, pancreas, etc.

Embolization

In this procedure, the blood supply to the liver is cut off and thus the cancer cells die off. Mainly used when the cancer cells are too large and cannot be surgically removed. This could be combined with chemotherapy, called chemoembolization. It can also be combined with radiation therapy, called radioembolization. 

Targeted therapy

This involves suppressing substances and chemicals required for the cancer cells to grow. The substances injected can prevent the liver tumor from creating new blood vessels. The drugs used are mainly Nexavar and Lenvima. Stivarga is a drug that suppresses the proteins that help liver cells grow. 

Side effects

  • Fatigue
  • Rash
  • High blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy infuses the anti-cancer drugs into the bloodstream, but in this case, it is directly given to the liver by the hepatic artery. It is done at regular intervals in cycles with a break in between. The number of doses in a cycle depends on the level of cancer. 

Side effects

  • Loss of hair
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Sores in mouth
  • Damage of bone marrow

Best doctors in India for HCC treatment

  1. Dr. Subhash Gupta
  2. Dr. VP Bhalla
  3. Dr. TK Neelamekam
  4. Dr. P Jaganadhan
  5. Dr. Mohammed Rela
  6. Dr. Arvinder Singh Soin
  7. Dr. Pankaj Puri
  8. Dr. Aabha Nagral
  9. Dr. Venugopal V
  10. Dr. Sandip Chakraborty

Best hospitals in India for HCC treatment

  1. Paras Hospital, Gurgaon
  2. Medanta Hospital, New Delhi
  3. Artemis Hospital, Delhi
  4. Max Hospital, New Delhi
  5. Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai
  6. BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi
  7. Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi
  8. Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon
  9. Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi
  10. Max Super Specialty Hospital, Gurgaon

FAQ

How can liver cancer be prevented?

Among the most effective ways to reduce the risk of developing liver cancer is to avoid exposure to hepatitis B and C viruses. Vaccines for hepatitis B are commonly available for children and adults. If you are at risk for hepatitis B or C infection, consider undergoing a screening test.  Limiting alcohol and tobacco use, getting to and staying at a healthy weight, limiting exposure to cancer-causing chemicals, and treating diseases that increase risk are all additional ways to reduce risk and prevent liver cancer.

Should I be worried if I have a cyst in the liver?

There is often nothing to worry about with simple cysts in the liver. They can be quite common. When we find cysts that are growing, we will often take extra care to ensure that there is not an associated tumor causing the growth,

Am I at risk if my parents have liver cancer?

In some cases, yes, a parent with liver cancer can raise your personal risk. However, this is not true for the majority of patients. It’s always good to talk to your primary care doctor about your concerns or questions.


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