Anything that raises a person’s chances of acquiring cancer is a risk factor. Although risk factors have a role in the development of cancer, the majority of them do not cause cancer. Some people who have a number of risk factors never get cancer, whereas others who have none do. Knowing your risk factors and discussing them with your doctor may assist you in making better lifestyle and health-care decisions.
The following factors can increase a person’s risk of acquiring liver cancer. Cirrhosis of the liver and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are the main hazards in the United States (NAFLD).
- Cirrhosis: Cirrhosis develops when liver cells are damaged and replaced by scar tissue. Alcohol abuse is the leading cause of cirrhosis in the United States. NAFLD, viral hepatitis (types B and C, as detailed below), too much iron in the liver due to hemochromatosis, and other rare types of chronic liver disease are other reasons. People who abuse alcohol and have a hepatitis virus infection are at a higher risk of developing cirrhosis and HCC.
- Obesity, NAFLD, and diabetes are all linked. Obesity causes fat to accumulate in the liver, resulting in NAFLD. According to strong evidence, NAFLD and diabetes, a related condition, have become increasingly substantial risk factors for HCC in the United States during the last decade.
- A virus causes hepatitis. Viruses that infect the liver are known as hepatitis. Hepatitis B and C are the two most frequent kinds. It is the leading cause of liver cancer around the globe. Because there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C, it is more frequent than hepatitis B.
- Through blood or bodily fluids, viral hepatitis can be transmitted from one person to another. Physical injury or trauma, sharing needles during drug usage or the tattooing procedure, or sexual contact can all lead to this. If the mother has hepatitis B, an unborn baby or child can contract the virus. Vaccinating the baby can prevent this.
- If you get acute hepatitis B or C and then “clean the virus,” you will fully recover from the infection. The only persons at risk are those who do not clear the virus and have a long-term infection. Blood testing will determine whether or not you have recovered from the illness.
- Age. Adult primary liver cancer is most common in adults over 60 in the United States.
- Gender. Liver cancer is more common in men than in women. Environmental considerations are important. Some environmental variables, such as exposure to certain chemicals or eating food tainted with aflatoxin, may raise the risk of liver cancer. Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by a mould that can grow on nuts and grains kept. In the United States, there is less of a chance of this happening.
Risk factors build up over time. This means that having more than one risk factor raises one’s chances of getting liver cancer even higher. A person who has both hepatitis B and C, for example, is at a larger risk than someone who only has one kind of the virus. A person with hepatitis C who additionally consumes alcohol is at an increased risk.