Liver Cancer Rising Due to Hepatitis C While Other Cancer Rates Drop
MARCH 16, 2016
During the same four-year span, men were diagnosed with liver cancer about two times as often as women among all races and ethnicities. The highest liver cancer incidence rates were among Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native men, followed by non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander men, the release states.
Chronic infection of the hepatitis C virus can inflame and damage the liver over time and is one major reason for the increasing liver cancer rates, the authors noted in the report. More than 20% of the most common liver cancers are attributed to the viral infection.
“We have the knowledge and tools available to slow the epidemic of liver cancer in the US, including testing and treatment for HCV, hepatitis B vaccination, and lowering obesity rates,” Otis W. Brawley, MD, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, stated in the release. “We hope that this report will help focus needed attention and resources on liver cancer.”
Health officials estimate that there are roughly 3 million people in the U.S who are infected with hepatitis C, however, many may not know it because they lack symptoms. The CDC recommends that anyone born from 1945 to 1965 get a one-time test for the virus, noting that people in that age group are 6 times more likely than other adults to be infected, according to the release.