The liver is our body’s largest internal organ and has a range of important functions in our body, from breaking down and storing nutrients from food to eliminating waste. Unfortunately, liver cancer is a serious risk that, according to the American Cancer Society, has over 40,000 new cases each year.
In the battle against liver cancer, spreading awareness of liver cancer risks and prevention methods is one of the best ways to fight back. In honor of Liver Cancer Awareness Month, we’re providing more information on the prevention, detection, and treatment of this disease.
What Causes Liver Cancer
A well-known cause of liver cancer is the overconsumption of alcohol, but in fact, this cause only accounts for a mere 20% of liver cancer cases. Many cases of liver cancer are caused by infections of Hepatitis B or C. The most common ways of contracting either strain of Hepatitis are unprotected sex and the sharing of unsterilized needles. It is also possible for those who received a blood transfusion before 1992 to have contracted Hepatitis.
Liver cancer caused by Hepatitis slowly develops over the course of two or three decades, so getting screened for liver cancer can help catch any infections early and prevent the cancer from reaching advanced stages.
Other Risk Factors For Liver Cancer
There are many other conditions that have shown to increase the chance of developing liver cancer, which include:
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Cirrhosis Of The Liver
- Exposure To Arsenic
- Overuse Of Anabolic Steroids
- Ingesting Aflatoxin
If you are suffering from any of these conditions, you may be at greater risk of developing liver cancer. Your doctor can advise you if any tests or screenings are needed.
Protecting Yourself Against Liver Cancer
While there is no way to completely prevent cancer, living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding risks of catching Hepatitis B or C can help reduce your risk. Practicing safe sex and avoiding the use of unsterilized needles in any way will limit your chances of developing liver cancer. Also, limiting the use of alcohol to prevent damage to your liver is a great practice to promote your overall health.
If you have any questions about liver cancer, risk factors, and treatment options, just contact your local cancer treatment specialists at Northeastern Nevada Radiation Oncology Center located right here in Elko, NV. We’re here to help!