October is National Liver Cancer Awareness Month! So what is it and what are the risk factors? Read on to find out!
The liver is one of the largest organs in the body. It filters harmful substances from the blood, produces bile that helps in the digestion of fats, and stores sugar that the body uses for energy.
There are two types of primary liver cancer in adults – hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of adult primary liver cancer. It is relatively rare in the United States, although its incidence is rising, principally in relation to the spread of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
Risk Factors for Liver Cancer
Gender – Hepatocellular carcinoma is much more common in males than in females
Race/Ethnicity – In the United States, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have the highest rates of liver cancer, followed by American Indians/Alaska Natives and Hispanics/Latinos, African Americans, and whites.
Chronic Viral Hepatitis (HepB or HepC) – Worldwide, the most common risk factor for liver cancer is chronic (long-term) infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV). These infections lead to cirrhosis of the liver (see above) and are responsible for making liver cancer the most common cancer in many parts of the world.
Cirrhosis – The disease in which liver cells become damaged and are replaced by scar tissue is a leading factor. People with cirrhosis have an increased risk of liver cancer. Most (but not all) people who develop liver cancer already have some evidence of cirrhosis.
Heavy Alcohol Use – Alcohol abuse is a leading cause of cirrhosis in the United States, which in turn is linked with an increased risk of liver cancer.
Obesity – Being obese (very overweight) increases the risk of developing liver cancer. This is probably because it can result in fatty liver disease and cirrhosis.
Type 2 Diabetes – The condition has been linked with an increased risk of liver cancer, usually in patients who also have other risk factors such as heavy alcohol use and/or chronic viral hepatitis. This risk may be increased because people with type 2 diabetes tend to be overweight or obese, which in turn can cause liver problems.
For information on more risk facors, visit cancer.org.
MainStreet Family Care & KidsStreet Urgent Care support the search for the cure to cancer. For more information on the services provided by MainStreet and KidsStreet click the links – mainstreetfamilycare.com // kidsstreeturgentcare.com.