Understanding liver cancer.
Liver cancer isn’t that common in the UK. It accounts for around 2 in every 100 newly diagnosed cancers each year and is the 17th most common type of cancer. But since the late 1970s, liver cancer rates have more than tripled in the UK – a sharp rise compared to other types of cancer.
Globally, however, liver cancer poses an even bigger challenge.
It’s the 6th most common cancer worldwide, approaching 800,000 new cases diagnosed each year, mostly in low-to-middle-income countries.
And if you look at the map above, the regions hardest hit by liver cancer are parts of Asia and Africa.
So what’s behind the rising rates of liver cancer in the UK, and why are rates much higher in Asia and Africa?
There are five main types of hepatitis viruses, A, B, C, D and E. These viruses infect the liver and usually cause inflammation – if the infection isn’t cleared by the immune system (chronic infection) it increases the risk of liver cancer. The 2 most important viruses linked to liver cancer are hepatitis B and C.
Worldwide around 360 million people have chronic hepatitis B infections, and around 150 million chronic hepatitis C.
Dr Tim Harrison , who’s based at UCL and has devoted his research career to studying hepatitis viruses and liver cancer, says it’s through studying the patterns of infection that scientists can begin to understand soaring liver cancer rates.
|Read Full Article: World Cancer Day 2017: liver cancer, a global challenge thanks to viruses and alcohol – Cancer Research UK – Science blog|