Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Liver cancer rates on the rise

Rising obesity may be contributing
to a rise in liver cancer ratesFo
For Cancer Digest

Liver cancer death rates have increased by around 50% in the last decade and have tripled since records began, according to the latest calculations* by Cancer Research UK.

There were 3,200 liver cancer deaths in the UK in 2007, and the mortality rate has steadily climbed since then with 5,700 deaths due to the disease in 2017, researchers at Cancer Research UK say. 

At the same time the number of people being diagnosed with liver cancer also increased by 60 percent over that same decade.

The five-year survival rate ranges between 6 percent and 37 percent depending on age and gender. This in part due to the difficulty of diagnosis at an early stage, when there are few symptoms. In addition many patients have chronic liver disease, which can mask the symptoms of cancer. As a result, diagnosis usually occurs when symptoms become apparent, when the cancer is at an advanced stage.

The rise in liver cancer in the UK mirrors the increasing rates in other countries. The American Cancer Society statistics show liver cancer rates increasing by nearly 3 percent per year since 2000 with new cases at 30,000 in 2018.

Although liver cancer can happen at any age, it is most common in older people over the age of 60. And it’s more common in Asian and Black people. Other risk factors include obesity and smoking, 23 percent of liver cancer cases can be linked to being overweight or obese, and 20 percent can be linked to smoking. Overall, around half of cases are preventable, according to Cancer Research UK CEO Michelle Mitchell.

“There are things we can all do to make a difference to our cancer risk and it’s never too late to make a change," Mitchell said in a press release. "Keeping a healthy weight, not smoking, and drinking less alcohol will all help lower your chance of developing liver cancer.”

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