Liver cancer can develop in any person but certain factors increase your risk of liver cancer. Read to know more on who is at risk for liver cancer.
[Read: How to Prevent Liver Cancer]
- Men: The risk of developing liver cancer is higher in men than in women.
- Age: In the developed countries such as USA, European countries and Australia liver cancer is more common in older adults whereas liver cancer is more common in younger adults in developing countries of Asia and Africa.
- Family history of liver cancer: A person with a family history of liver cancer is at higher risk of developing liver cancer. The exact gene or genes which increase the risk are not yet known.
- HBV or HCV Infections: Infection with hepatotropic viruses such as hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) which can cause chronic infection of the liver increases a person’s risk of developing liver cancer.
- Cirrhosis- Cirrhosis is a progressive and irreversible disease of the liver which has several causes. Excessive alcohol consumption is one of the commonest causes of liver cirrhosis. People with liver cirrhosis are at risk of developing liver cancer. Certain other liver diseases which increase the risk of developing liver cancer include hemochromatosis and Wilson's disease.
[Read: Life Expectancy after Liver Cancer Diagnosis]
- Diabetes: Adults with diabetes are at higher risk of liver cancer as compared to non-diabetic adults.
- Exposure to aflatoxins: People who are exposed to aflatoxin are at higher risk of developing liver cancer. Aflatoxin is produced by fungi and if you eat foods contaminated with aflatoxins your risk of developing liver cancer is increased. Food contamination with aflatoxin is a common problem in certain parts of Africa and Asia.
- Alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption daily for many years can cause cirrhosis (an irreversible type of liver damage). It increases your risk of liver cancer.
Currently there is no cure for liver cancer and treatment for liver cancer is not very effective. People who are at risk of liver cancer should take measures to avoid modifiable risk factors of liver cancer such as infection with hepatitis B and C virus, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and exposure to aflatoxin. Besides this people who are at risk of liver cancer, should go for regular tests and follow-ups to detect the cancer at an early stage as it can improve prognosis and life expectancy.
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