Spread the word: it is Liver Cancer Awareness Month

October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month, a global initiative that aims to raise understanding of this challenging disease and educate us all about the signs and symptoms, as well as how to look after your liver.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common form of primary liver cancer,[1] with around 800,000 new cases diagnosed each year.[2] Sadly, it is also the second-leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide[3] and expected to surpass annual incidence of 1 million cases worldwide[4].

Understanding liver cancer

HCC develops in the main liver cells (the hepatocytes), and can spread to the rest of the body. As is often the case with cancer, individual genetic predisposition may play a role[5]. However, it is clear that risk tends to be greatest in people with liver damage such as cirrhosis (caused by infection with the hepatitis B or C virus, or long-term alcohol abuse) or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (metabolic syndrome).[6] [7]

Reducing risk

The sooner liver cancer is detected, the better the chances of treating it, so timely diagnosis is crucial. Awareness of key symptoms can save lives – jaundice, abdominal pain, and white chalky stools are all warning signs.

Research suggests up to half of liver cancer cases could be prevented by healthy lifestyle measures[8] – exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy BMI and limiting alcohol for example[9].

Pioneering Research

As a leading biopharmaceutical company, develops innovative treatment options for some of the world’s most challenging diseases. When it comes to HCC, we are working hard to further our understanding of the disease and find effective ways to treat it.

We are also passionate about supporting efforts to raise awareness – so look after your liver, and spread the word to your friends and family this October.

[1] Kew MC. Hepatocellular carcinoma: epidemiology and risk factors. Journal of Hepatocellular Carcinoma. 2014;1:115-125. doi:10.2147/JHC.S44381.

[2] Kew MC. Hepatocellular carcinoma: epidemiology and risk factors. Journal of Hepatocellular Carcinoma. 2014;1:115-125. doi:10.2147/JHC.S44381.

[3] Stewart BW, Wild CPE. World Cancer Report 2014. 2014;Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer, http://www.ebrary.com.proxy.library.vcu.edu

[4] Llovet et al. Nature 2018

[5] Ranran Tang et al. 2017 / De Mattia et al. 2017

[6] https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/liver-cancer/types

[7] Lung-Yi Mak 2018

[8] https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/liver-cancer

[9] Liver Cancer. Risks and Causes. https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/liver-cancer/risks-causes

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