Key Risk Factors for Liver Cancer

Key Risk Factors for Liver Cancer

January 31, 2017

Key Risk Factors for Liver Cancer

Over time, behaviors like smoking, heavy drinking and poor health take their toll on the internal organs. The liver is a highly resilient organ, but recurring abuse does take a toll. Below, we examine the progression and risk factors associated with liver cancer.

Cancer often develops prior to liver infection

One important thing to remember is that cancers that appear in the liver often originate in other parts of the body. Many times, the liver becomes infected long after other body tissue. According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, “ Additionally, most cancers of the liver begin elsewhere in the body and are spread to the liver. These cancers are not curable through liver transplantation. Tumors that originate in the liver are also usually detected in an advanced stage.”

Risk factors associated with liver cancers

Certain risk factors are inherent, like your age, gender or your family’s background. Other risk factors like smoking, alcohol consumption, stress and/or exercise levels can be modified to reduce the risk of liver cancer. It should also be noted that just because an individual possesses these trails or factors, that does not mean they will experience the condition.

Here are a few known risk factors for liver cancer:

  • Cirrhosis: Repeated liver abuse, known as cirrhosis, is the second most common cause of liver cancer. Long-term cirrhosis may accompany other serious health problems like malignant tumors, fluid buildup, jaundice and high blood pressure.
  • Gender: Males are known to be more susceptible to the condition than women.
  • Hepatitis B or C: Viral infection of the liver is the most commonly occurring risk factor for liver cancer. These infections are frequently correlated and are responsible for a significant amount of worldwide liver cancer cases. People with hepatitis C are almost twice as likely to experience liver cancer than other types of hepatitis. There are multiple types of hepatitis, but both hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) can cause cirrhosis.
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: Fatty liver disease affects about 25% of the U.S. population, according to the National Liver Foundation. Approximately one-fifth of individuals with fatty liver disease go on to experience liver cancer. According to Medscape, “from 2004 to 2009, the annual increase in hepatocellular carcinoma in fatty liver disease patients was approximately 5%.”
  • Race: Within the U.S., American Cancer Society’s data shows that “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.”

Learn more about liver cancer

If you exhibit multiple liver cancer risk factors, be sure to speak with you doctor about liver disease. You may also consult with the doctor at OCRC if you meet our liver study criteria. If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, please tell us a little more about yourself in the Contact section of the home page and we will respond to you to determine your eligibility for current and future studies.