Statistics of Liver Cancer
- Liver cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the world.
- Incidence rates vary from 2.1 per 100,000 in North America to 80 per 100,000 in China.
- According to the American Cancer Society, 39,230 adults in the United States are estimated to be diagnosed in 2016.
- Liver cancer tends to strike men in the United States, although this trend is most marked among Chinese Americans.
What is liver cancer?
Primary liver cancer is a disease in which malignant cells, known as cancer, form in the tissues of the liver. Liver cancer, also called Hepatocellular Cancer (HCC), is the fourth most common cancer in the world. The liver is one of the largest organs in the body. It has four lobes and fills the upper right side of the abdomen inside the rib cage. The liver has many important functions and is a vital organ. You are not able to live without a liver as it’s primary functions are:
- Filtering harmful substances, such as alcohol and toxins, from the blood so they can be passed from the body in stools and urine.
- Making bile to help digest fats from food.
- Storing glycogen (sugar), which the body uses for energy.
When examining liver cancer, it is found that there is typically one large tumor or many small tumors. It is common in individuals who have Cirrhosis of the liver that many small cancerous tumors form throughout the liver. It is important to note that Bile Duct cancer is a separate cancer. Bile ducts are a system contained within the liver.
What are the risk factors for developing liver cancer?
Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. The following are possible risk factors for adult primary liver cancer:
- Hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C.
- Having a close relative with both hepatitis and liver cancer.
- Eating foods tainted with aflatoxin (poison from a fungus that can grow on foods, such as grains and nuts, which have not been stored properly).
What are liver cancer symptoms?
Possible adult primary liver cancer symptoms:
- A hard lump on the right side just below the rib cage.
- Discomfort in the upper abdomen on the right side.
- Pain around the right shoulder blade.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).
- Unusual tiredness.
- Loss of appetite.