Can Liver Haemangiomas Turn Into Cancer?

Haemangiomas are a non-cancerous growth of blood vessels on the skin. Liver haemangiomas are an extra growth of blood vessels developing on the liver. It is also known as hepatic haemangioma and cavernous haemangioma. These are benign growths. They do not cause any harm to the body. Very rarely, if they grow to be huge, then they might affect the normal functioning of the liver.

Can Liver Haemangiomas Turn Into Cancer?

Can Liver Haemangiomas Turn into Cancer?

A liver haemangioma cannot turn into cancer. A liver haemangioma is usually a very small growth occurring on the liver. It is a non-cancerous growth of blood vessels. And having a liver haemangioma or a haemangioma increasing in the size does not increase your risk of getting cancer. There is no evidence to link these two separate conditions.

It is not ascertained as to what actually causes the liver haemangioma to form. Some physicians believe them to be congenital. This theory means that you are born with them.

Liver haemangioma is usually present as a single lesion. Though, multiple lesions may be seen, but very rarely. Also, usually they are very small in size. But, on occasions, there might be larger haemangiomas too. In most of the cases, liver haemangiomas will not grow or cause any significant damage to the body. Very rarely though, they may grow and cause complications and then they may require treatment. The reason for this is also very unclear.

Liver haemangioma is mostly seen to be affecting the adults above age 30 years. Also, it is more common occurrence in women than in men. Hormone estrogen is speculated to be related to this fact. Also, if a woman suffers from liver haemangioma, the chances are that if she gets pregnant again, then her haemangioma may grow to be large, during pregnancy. This may be because estrogen is already at high levels in pregnancy and one theory- as stated above- speculates that estrogen may stimulate growth in haemangiomas. Also, people on HRT (hormone replacement therapy) are more likely to be diagnosed with liver haemangioma again, the reason being hormones.

Signs and Symptoms Seen In A Liver Haemangioma

Usually, a liver haemangioma does not present with any signs and symptoms. In fact, there are no symptoms specific to the liver haemangioma at all. They are most of the times diagnosed accidentally, while some tests and procedures are carried out for any other disease. Hence, liver haemangioma most of the times is an accidental finding and not a targeted diagnosis. Sometimes, if it grows as large as to cause complications, then the symptoms may include abdominal pain, discomfort in the tummy, anorexia, and nausea and vomiting, sometimes bloating even. Sometimes, it may cause heaviness in chest and some breathing difficulties. But, this last bit occurs very rarely. Also, another symptom which may occur in rare cases is the rupture or bursting of the liver haemangiomas.

Also, none of these symptoms, as said earlier, are specific to liver haemangioma. These symptoms might be present due to some other underlying disease.

Liver haemangiomas are not of any significant consequence to the health. Hence, they do not require immediate treatment as such. In fact, many physicians prefer to keep them undisturbed, as they may shrink on their own after a few years. Haemangiomas are known to regress after a few years of dormancy. Hence, there is no need of intervention most of the times.

If any kind of treatment is needed, the physician will take his own time to make sure that the treatment is really needed. And only if the treatment necessity outweighs the risks involved in keeping the haemangioma as it is; will he really consider the treatment methods. As the chances are that there might be more harm done than good by interfering with haemangioma. The treatment depends on the location and size of the haemangioma and consists of any of the options like medications, surgery, laser surgery and radiotherapy.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 19, 2021

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