Liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide and the third leading cause of cancer death. It is estimated that in 2022, there will be 830,000 new cases of liver cancer and 780,000 deaths from the disease.
The incidence of liver cancer is rising, particularly in developing countries. This is due to a number of factors, including:
- The increasing prevalence of chronic liver diseases, such as hepatitis B and C, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
- The growing population of older adults, who are at an increased risk of liver cancer.
- The increasing use of certain medications, such as oral androgenic steroids.
Liver cancer is often difficult to detect early, as it typically does not cause any symptoms in the early stages. By the time symptoms do occur, the cancer is often advanced and difficult to treat.
The symptoms of liver cancer can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Easy bruising
- Bleeding gums
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away. Early diagnosis and treatment of liver cancer are essential for improving the chances of survival.
There are a number of risk factors for liver cancer, including:
- Chronic liver diseases, such as hepatitis B and C, and NAFLD
- Family history of liver cancer
- Alcohol abuse
- Certain medications, such as oral androgenic steroids
- Exposure to environmental toxins, such as aflatoxins
There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of liver cancer, including:
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis B and C.
- Get tested for hepatitis B and C if you are at risk.
- Manage your weight and blood sugar levels.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Avoid exposure to environmental toxins.
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
If you have been diagnosed with liver cancer, there are a number of treatment options available, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. The best treatment for you will depend on the stage of your cancer, your overall health, and your preferences.
With early diagnosis and treatment, liver cancer is a treatable disease. However, it is important to remember that liver cancer is a serious disease and that the prognosis depends on the stage of the cancer at diagnosis.