Global liver cancer rates could increase by more than 50% by 2040

Primary liver cancer was among the top three causes of cancer death in 46 countries in 2020, and the number of people diagnosed or dying from primary liver cancer per year could increase by more than 55% by 2040, according to a new global analysis. To avoid this increase, countries must reduce the annual rate of incidence and death from liver cancer by at least 3%, according to the results published on October 5 in the Journal of Hepatology.

“Liver cancer causes an enormous disease burden worldwide each year,” lead author Isabelle Soerjomataram, MD, PhDdeputy head of the cancer surveillance branch of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, said in a version. “It is also largely preventable if control efforts are prioritized – major risk factors include hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, alcohol consumption, excess weight and conditions metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes.”

“Liver cancer remains a major health problem worldwide, and in some countries it leads in new cancer cases and the number of cancer deaths,” says Bassam Estfan, MD, a hematologist and oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the study. “The prevention and management of liver cancer requires a global effort and good access to health care and treatment, which can be a challenge in many countries with high liver cancer incidence rates. “, did he declare.

An estimated 28,000 people die from liver cancer in the United States each year.

Cancer that starts in the liver is called primary liver cancer, the most common type being hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). According to American Cancer Society.

A second type appears to start with many small cancerous nodules throughout the liver, which is most commonly seen in people with cirrhosis (chronic liver damage) and is the most common pattern in the United States.

More than 900,000 people were diagnosed with liver cancer in 2020

To estimate the global burden of liver cancer and predict the number of cases and deaths in 2040, researchers extracted data on primary liver cancer cases and deaths from the International Research Center’s GLOBOCAN 2020 database. on Cancer, which produces estimates of cancer incidence and mortality for 36 types of cancer in 185 countries around the world. The projected change in the number of cancer cases or deaths by 2040 was estimated using United Nations population projections.

The authors found that in 2020, approximately 905,700 people were diagnosed with liver cancer and 830,200 died from liver cancer globally. This places liver cancer among the top three causes of cancer death in 46 countries and among the top five causes of cancer death in nearly 100 countries, including several high-income countries.

Liver cancer incidence and mortality rates were highest in East Asia, North Africa and Southeast Asia. After analyzing the current number of cases as well as demographic data, the authors predict that if current trends continue, the annual number of new cases and deaths from liver cancer will increase by more than 55% over the next 20 years. .

The number of people diagnosed with liver cancer could increase by nearly half a million people by 2040

“The number of people diagnosed with or dying of liver cancer each year could increase by almost 500,000 cases or deaths by 2040 unless we achieve a substantial decrease in liver cancer rates through prevention. primary,” said Dr Soerjomataram.

Whatever ? The authors estimate that countries around the world must achieve at least a 3% annual decrease in liver cancer incidence and death rates through preventive measures.

For this to be possible, public health officials must prepare for the projected increase in demand for resources to manage the care of liver cancer patients and strengthen current liver cancer prevention measures, write the authors.

Liver cancer is often preventable

These findings are important because liver cancer is often a preventable disease, Estfan says. “Its incidence and mortality closely follow the global prevalence of its underlying causes. Hepatitis B and C infections through blood transfusions are no longer a problem thanks to routine testing, but both can be transmitted through sharing contaminated needles (illegal drug use), and hepatitis B can be transmitted through risky sexual contact,” he says, adding that both of these pathways are preventable.

Hepatitis B can be passed from infected pregnant mothers to their newborns, which can also be prevented, says Dr. Estfan. According to Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention (CDC), perinatal transmission of hepatitis B can be prevented if the infection is identified and infants are treated within the first 12 hours after birth.

Liver cancer is less common in the United States

Liver cancer is more common in other parts of the world than in the United States, where it’s actually on the decline, According to the CDC. About 25,000 men and 11,000 women in the United States get liver cancer each year, and about 19,000 men and 9,000 women die from it.

“In the United States, most of the underlying causes of liver cancer are related to hepatitis C and alcohol consumption, with an increasing, albeit modest, rate of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” says Estfan. The rates are going down because the rate of older people with hepatitis C is going down, and with it the incidence and death rates as well, he says.

Alcohol abuse can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and an increased risk of liver cancer, and abstinence or moderate drinking is important to prevent this, Estfan says. “A growing cause of fatty liver disease and cirrhosis is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, often due to obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes,” he says. “These are manageable conditions through a healthy lifestyle and medical management.”

Tips to keep your liver healthy

If you have liver disease or are at risk for liver disease due to your family history or underlying medical conditions, it is essential to maintain regular medical follow-ups with your liver doctor or primary care physician. remedies and to take your medications as directed. The CDC offers the following additional tips to help you reduce your risk of liver cancer:

  • Limit your alcohol consumption. The guidelines suggest that men drink no more than two units of alcohol per day and women no more than one.
  • Maintain a normal weight. This may reduce the risk of developing fatty liver disease or the risk factors associated with the development of fatty liver disease.
  • Do not smoke. Or quit if you do.
  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis B.
  • Get tested for hepatitis C. And get treated if you have any.

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