A new report by the British Liver Trust has revealed a rise in liver cancer being caused by alcohol and obesity.
The report also revealed that the risk of liver cancer has risen 60 percent in the last ten years, with 16 people being diagnosed every day in the UK.
Chief executive of the British Liver Trust, Pamela Healy said: “Our helpline received many calls from people who have been diagnosed with liver cancer, where the primary cause is liver disease, but this has never been picked up.”
Most cases of liver cancer as primarily linked to cirrhosis (damage and scarring) of the liver. The report showed that 9 out of 10 cases of cirrhosis are caused by alcohol, obesity and hepatitis infections.
“Taking care of your liver to prevent damage is one of the most effective ways you can reduce your risk of cirrhosis which can lead to liver cancer,” said Healy.
The report has also found that only around 12 percent of people who are diagnosed with liver cancer survive for five years. It is thought that by 2035, rates of liver cancer are expected to rise by 38 percent, which is the equivalent of 11,000 people a year in the UK.
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The charity is urging members of the public and healthcare professionals to find out more about the risks and symptoms of the disease.
Early diagnosis of liver cancer is difficult due to there not often being signs in early stages, which is why it is even more important for people to prevent the disease by changing their lifestyle to lessen the risk of liver damage.
Late symptoms may include yellowing of the skin or eyes, weakness and fatigue, a change in appetite, unexplained weight loss and abdominal pain.
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Healy continues: “It is therefore vital that we identify people with liver disease and those who are at risk of developing liver disease, at a much earlier stage. Regular screening for cancer in people with advanced liver disease is essential in order to make an early diagnosis of liver cancer.”
The British Liver Trust’s Love Your Liver campaign identifies three simple steps to nurse your liver back to health. They are as following:
- Drinking within recommended limits and have three consecutive days off alcohol every week.
- Cut down on sugar, carbohydrates and fat, and take more exercise.
- Know the risk factors for viral hepatitis and get tested or vaccinated if at risk.