Blue Faery: The Adrienne Wilson Liver Cancer Association




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HCC in the United States

  • This year there will be over 42,030 (29,480 men and 12,550 women) new cases of liver cancer (including intrahepatic bile duct cancer) and approximately 31,780 (21,600 men and 10,180 women) deaths.
  • Liver cancer incidence has more than tripled since 1980.
  • HCC related to hepatitis C infection has become the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.
  • In the United States, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have the highest rates of liver cancer, followed by American Indians/Alaska Natives and Hispanics/Latinos, African Americans and Whites.


HCC in the World

  • Over 800,000 people in the world contract HCC each year and approximately 700,000 die from the disease.
  • HCC is the 6th most common cancer in the world.
  • HCC is the 3rd leading cause of cancer deaths in the world.
  • The overall incidence rate of HCC is approximately three times higher in males than females.


HCC Facts

  • HCC accounts for approximately 90% of all liver cancers.
  • Approximately 1.2 million people in the United States and 257 million people in the world have chronic hepatitis B.
  • Approximately 2.4 million people in the United States and 71 million people in the world have chronic hepatitis C.
  • 2/3 of liver cancer deaths are caused by hepatitis.
  • 80% of people with HCC also have cirrhosis.
  • At present worldwide averages, 1 in every 5,000 people will contract HCC.
  • Approximately 52% of HCC patients who go into remission will contract HCC again.
  • The five-year relative survival rate depends on the stage of the disease at diagnosis:
    • Localized = 31%
    • Regional = 11%
    • Distant (spread to other organs) = 3%


Risk Factors

  • Viruses
    • Chronic viral hepatitis B (HBV)
    • Chronic viral hepatitis C (HCV)
    • In the U.S, HCV infection is the more common cause of HCC, while in Asia and Africa, HBV is more common.
  • Cirrhosis (sometimes due to lifestyle choices)
    • Hereditrary hemochromatosis
    • Tyrosinemia
    • Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency
    • Porphyria cutanea tarda
    • Glycogen storage diseases
    • Wilson’s Disease
    • Heavy alcohol use, which is the leading cause of cirrhosis in the U.S.
    • Obesity
    • Type 2 Diabetes
    • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    • Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
    • Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC)
    • Inherited metabolic diseases
    • Certain rare diseases
  • Exposure to cancer-causing substances
    • Alfatoxins (made by a fungus that contaminates peanuts, wheat, soybeans, ground nuts, corn and rice)
    • Vinyl chloride and thorium dioxide (Thorotrast)
    • Anabolic steroids
    • Arsenic
    • Infection with parasites (one that causes schistosomiasis, not found in the U.S. but can occur in Asia, Africa and South America)
    • Tobacco use


  • Symptoms may include anorexia, early satiety, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, obstructive jaundice, fever, watery diarrhea, itching, yellowing of skin/eyes and/or swelling/fluid build-up in the abdomen.
  • The patient may experience pain in the abdomen, near the right shoulder blade or in the bones (from metastases).
  • An enlarged liver felt as a mass under the ribs on the right side, or an enlarged spleen felt as a mass under the ribs on the left side.


Sources include American Cancer Society, ASCO Post, CDC, Hepatitis B Foundation, National Cancer Institute and World Health Organization. © June 2019