Liver cancer in Hispanic and Latino communities
Liver cancer is cancer that starts in any part of the liver. The most common type of liver cancer is called hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Liver cancer rates are rising in the United States. In men, HCC is the
Many cases of liver cancer can be prevented. Better access to preventive care could reduce the risk. Language barriers and lack of health insurance are challenges to receiving care for many Latinos.
The liver is a large organ that has many jobs in the body. It plays a role in digestion. It also filters the blood to remove harmful substances.
Liver cancer is cancer that starts in any part of the liver. The most common form of liver cancer is HCC. This type of cancer starts in the cells that make up the body of the liver. Cancer can also start in the ducts of the liver, but this is less common. HCC rate
Anything that damages the liver can increase the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer. Whenever the liver is damaged, it tries to repair itself. Over time, the cycle of damage and repair causes scar tissue.
Cirrhosis is severe scarring of the liver. When there is too much damage and scar tissue builds up, the liver no longer functions properly.
Risk factors for cirrhosis and liver cancer include:
- hepatitis B or C infection
- heavy drinking
- exposure to aflatoxin from contaminated food, water, or soil
- smoking tobacco
- non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
Hispanics have much higher rates of liver cancer than non-Hispanic whites in the United States. Data from 2014 to 2019 shows that they have
Although liver cancer rates are on the rise in all groups, they are much higher among Hispanics. This group saw a
Hispanics are also diagnosed with more advanced stages of liver cancer. This means there are often fewer treatment options available. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics have
There are differences in liver cancer survival among blacks, Hispanics, and whites. A
A number of factors may contribute to higher rates of liver cancer in Hispanic and Latino populations.
Hepatitis C infection remains a major cause of liver cancer. In Florida, hepatitis C is the
Overall, hepatitis C infections are stable or declining. The exception is that from 2014 to 2018 there was an increase of
Hepatitis C is a treatable disease. For many people, however, there are major barriers to accessing testing and treatment. Treatment is expensive, and many people don’t know they have it until it’s advanced.
Chronic hepatitis C can lead to cirrhosis and sometimes liver cancer. Without regular access to health care, hepatitis C may go undetected and untreated.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Another risk factor for liver cancer is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD can progress to another condition called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH is an advanced stage of fatty liver disease. Fat builds up around the liver, causing inflammation and scarring.
NAFLD is on the rise, affecting approximately
Hispanics have the highest rates of NAFLD compared to other ethnic groups.
A condition called metabolic syndrome is also associated with NAFLD. Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions. These can include high blood pressure, diabetes or prediabetes, and low levels of HDL or good cholesterol. In the United States, Hispanics have the
Liver cirrhosis is associated with
- heavy drinking
- hepatitis C infection
Hispanics have higher cirrhosis rates than other groups. A large study has shown that Hispanics have a
Liver cancer is usually not diagnosed at an early stage. Symptoms often only appear at an advanced stage, when it is more difficult to treat. In later stages, there are larger and more tumors, or the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
When liver cancer is detected early, there are more treatment options. That’s why regular checkups and routine screenings are important, especially for people at high risk of developing liver cancer.
Access to appropriate care is necessary to prevent and manage liver cancer risk factors. However, research shows that Hispanics are
A number of factors can prevent Hispanic and Latino people with liver cancer from receiving proper care and treatment. These may include:
- Socioeconomic status
- lack of health insurance
- Language barrier
- lack of access to culturally appropriate care
People living in poverty have a much harder time getting the health care they need. In the USA,
The Affordable Care Act has helped improve access for many people. It reduced the number of uninsured Hispanics by
Over the past decade, several states have expanded their Medicaid programs. Other states have not, including Florida and Texas, which have large Hispanic populations. This leaves
The cost of drugs is another issue in the United States. A large survey of Hispanics showed that
Lack of access to culturally appropriate care is also a potential barrier to liver cancer care for Hispanic and Latino people. Cultural competence means that healthcare professionals can provide care that meets the social, cultural and linguistic needs of their patients.
Hispanics and Latinos come from many countries. They have different traditions, foods and languages. Care and recommendations for people of one race or background will not work for everyone. Too often, people receive recommendations that don’t match their traditions.
Many things need to be improved for Hispanics and Latinos to have better access to health care. Access to culturally appropriate care can improve screening and preventive care. This may help reduce risk factors associated with cirrhosis and liver cancer.
In areas with large Hispanic or Latino populations, better access to health insurance coverage could reduce barriers to receiving care to help prevent and treat cancer.
To overcome language barriers, the services of an interpreter would be helpful. Another huge gap in care is the lack of Hispanic and Latino healthcare professionals. Hispanics and Latinos make up approximately
It is much less than the
Hispanic and Latino people have higher rates of liver cancer and liver cancer death. There are several possible reasons for this. Hispanic and Latino people have higher rates of metabolic syndrome, NAFLD, and NASH. These increase the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Hepatitis C is a treatable disease that increases the risk of liver cancer. Hispanic and Latino people are not always able to access the right care or get treatment for hepatitis C.
Language barriers, poverty and lack of health insurance can prevent access to health care.
Increasing culturally competent care and removing cost and language barriers can help. Through strategies to improve access to care, many cases of liver cancer can be prevented or treated.