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, with around 800,000 new cases diagnosed each year1. Sadly, it is also the second-leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide2 and expected to surpass annual incidence of 1 million cases worldwide3.
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 role4,5. 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.
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 measures8 – exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy BMI (body mass index) and limiting alcohol for example9.
As a leading biopharmaceutical company, Ipsen 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.
- Kew, M. Hepatocellular carcinoma: epidemiology and risk factors. J. Hepatocell. Carcinoma 1, 115 (2014).
- Liver cancer | World Cancer Research Fund International. Available at: https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/liver-cancer. (Accessed: 11th October 2018)
- Llovet, J. M., Montal, R., Sia, D. & Finn, R. S. Molecular therapies and precision medicine for hepatocellular carcinoma. Nat. Rev. Clin. Oncol. (2018). doi:10.1038/s41571-018-0073-4
- Tang, R., Liu, H., Yuan, Y., Xie, K. & Xu, P. Genetic factors associated with risk of metabolic syndrome and hepatocellular carcinoma. 8, 35403–35411 (2017).
- De Mattia, E. et al. Genetic biomarkers for hepatocellular cancer risk in a caucasian population. World J. Gastroenterol. 23, 6674–6684 (2017).
- Mak, L. et al. Global Epidemiology , Preven on , and Management of Global Epidemiology of HBV. (2018).
- Types | Liver cancer | Cancer Research UK. Available at: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/liver-cancer/types. (Accessed: 15th October 2018)
- Liver cancer statistics | Cancer Research UK. Available at: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/liver-cancer. (Accessed: 15th October 2018)
- Risks and causes | Liver cancer | Cancer Research UK. Available at: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/liver-cancer/risks-causes. (Accessed: 15th October 2018)