The liver is one of the largest organs in the body. It filters harmful substances from the blood, produces bile that helps in the digestion of fats, and stores sugar that the body uses for energy.
There are two types of primary liver cancer in adults – hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of adult primary liver cancer. It is relatively rare in the United States, although its incidence is rising, principally in relation to the spread of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
The National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program estimates that 42,230 new cases of liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and some 30,230 people are expected to die of primary adult liver cancer in 2021. The five-year survival rate is just 20.3 percent.
Having hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or cirrhosis are significant risk factors for adult primary liver cancer. Liver cancer is more common in men than women, and among Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native populations.
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