Health, Zoomer Report

Liver Cancer Rising

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It’s the only form of cancer where death rates are still going up. That’s the conclusion of the latest edition of Canadian Cancer Statistics released by the Canadian Cancer Society. The report also says that since 1970, the incidence rate of liver cancer has tripled in Canadian men and doubled in Canadian women.

Primary liver cancer, as opposed to disease that has spread from another part of the body, is still quite rare, but it has a poor prognosis, with a 5-year survival rate of only 20%. That’s because it’s usually too late by the time it is diagnosed. Doctors say liver cancer usually responds well to treatment when it is found early, and the main risk factors are chronic hepatitis B and C infections. Many people don’t know that they have hepatitis, and one solution would be to find and treat them.

Heavy alcohol use, obesity, diabetes, smoking are also risk factors and doctors estimate half of all cases are preventable. Worldwide, liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths, after lung and stomach cancer. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause.

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