Statistics

Blue Faery: The Adrienne Wilson Liver Cancer Association

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Statistics

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HCC in the United States

  • This year there will be over 41,260 (28,600 men and 12,660 women) new cases of liver cancer and approximately 30,520 (20,420 men and 10,100 women) deaths.
  • Liver cancer incidence rates have more than tripled and death rates have more than doubled since 1980.
  • HCC is the fastest rising cause of death in the U.S. 
  • Studies show that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have the highest rates of liver cancer. 

HCC in the World

  • Over 815,000 people in the world are diagnosed with HCC each year and about 40% of those diagnosed were in the late stages of the disease. 
  • 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 is the most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern/South-Eastern Asia.

HCC Facts

  • HCC accounts for approximately 90% of all liver cancers.
  • About 80% of patients with HCC have preexisting cirrhosis 
  • Two-thirds of liver cancer deaths are caused by hepatitis
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 296 million people are living with chronic hepatitis B, with 1.5 million new infections each year. 
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 58 million people are living with chronic hepatitis C with 1.5 million new infections each year. 
    • 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.
  • The five-year relative survival rate depends on the stage of the disease at diagnosis:
    • Localized (confined to the primary site) = 45%
    • Regional (spread to regional lymph nodes) = 26%
    • Distant (spread to other organs; metastasized) = 18%

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)
    • 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

  • 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: American Cancer Society, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, and UpToDate  © March 2022