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Liver Cancer

This year, about 40,710 people will be diagnosed with liver cancer and more than 28,920 people will die of the disease.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV), Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and cirrhosis are all linked to liver cancer. You can greatly reduce your risk for liver cancer by preventing or diagnosing and treating these diseases early.

Many liver cancer cases are related to the hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus. More than 4 million people are living with chronic Hepatitis B or chronic Hepatitis C in the United States. Most people don’t know they have the virus.

Other behaviors and conditions that increase risk for getting liver cancer are—

  • Heavy alcohol use.
  • Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver, which can also be caused by hepatitis and alcohol use).
  • Obesity.
  • Diabetes.
  • Having hemochromatosis, a condition where the body takes up and stores more iron than it needs.
  • Eating foods that have aflatoxin (a fungus that can grow on foods, such as grains and nuts that have not been stored properly).

In its early stages, liver cancer may not have symptoms that can be seen or felt. However, as the cancer grows larger, people may notice one or more of these common symptoms. It’s important to remember that these symptoms could also be caused by other health conditions. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.

Liver cancer symptoms may include—

  • Discomfort in the upper abdomen on the right side.
  • A swollen abdomen.
  • A hard lump on the right side just below the rib cage.
  • Pain near the right shoulder blade or in the back.
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).
  • Easy bruising or bleeding.
  • Unusual tiredness.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss for no known reason.

You can lower your risk of getting liver cancer in the following ways—

  • Get vaccinated against Hepatitis B infection. The Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all infants at birth and for adults who may be at increased risk.
  • Get tested for Hepatitis C, and get treated if you have it.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol.

Resources

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News | May 3, 2019#VaccinesWork: Your best shot at cancer prevention
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News | Jan 18, 2019Invest in Your Health – WTOP interviews Carolyn Aldige and Dr. Jim Mulshine of the Prevent Cancer Foundation
News | Oct 22, 2018Webinar: Hepatitis Prevention, Testing, and Treatment as Liver Cancer Prevention
Video | Sep 17, 2018Art Taylor of BBB Wise Giving Alliance interviews Carolyn “Bo” Aldige of Prevent Cancer Foundation
News | Aug 13, 2018It’s time to observe National Immunization Awareness Month!
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News | Apr 16, 2018National Minority Health Month
News | Feb 27, 2018Celebrity Big Brother winner and Broadway star Marissa Jaret Winokur wants you to Think About the Link® between HPV and cancer
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News | Mar 29, 2017Prevent Cancer Foundation® stands with The National Academies on elimination of hepatitis B and C to prevent liver cancer
News | Feb 7, 2017Cancer-associated viruses are a threat to those living with HIV
Video | Feb 7, 2017Webinar: Addressing the Impact of Viruses and Related Cancers on Minority Populations
News | Dec 21, 2016Help Raise Awareness about the Link between Viruses and Cancer in Minority Populations
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