Our liver is the largest internal organ we have, and it’s responsible for breaking down all of the essential nutrients that our body needs from the things we eat, and helping to eliminate waste to keep us healthy. However, there are many things that can put our livers at risk, with over 40,000 new cases of liver cancer being diagnosed each year, and many losing their lives in their battle with it.
The best way to fight back against liver cancer is by taking more precautions and reducing your risk of developing it. Below, we’ve outlined the risk factors, causes and key methods to help you protect yourself from developing liver cancer.
The Causes Of Liver Cancer
It’s a common misconception that alcohol is the leading cause of liver cancer, as it only accounts for about 20% of diagnosed cases. The leading causes of liver cancer are infections from Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, which develop slowly over the course of 20 or 30 years. The most common ways of contracting Hepatitis B or C are:
- Unprotected Sex
- Using & Sharing Unsterilized Needles
- Blood Transfusion*
*Only those who received a blood transfusion before 1992 are at risk, since donated blood began to be screen for disease after this date.
H2: Other Risk Factors
There are many other conditions that have shown to increase the chance of developing liver cancer, which include:
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Cirrhosis Of The Liver
- Exposure To Arsenic
- Overuse Of Anabolic Steroids
- Ingesting Aflatoxin
If you or someone in your family has suffered from any of these conditions, you are at greater risk of developing liver cancer. Contact your doctor to schedule a consultation, and they will be able to assess if a liver cancer screening is necessary.
Protecting Yourself Against Liver Cancer
The key to reducing your risk of developing liver cancer is leading a healthier lifestyle, by limiting your alcohol consumption, exercising, and maintaining a healthy diet. Also, do everything you can to avoid the risks of contracting Hepatitis, such as practicing safe sex and avoiding the sharing of unsterilized needles.
If you have another condition that increases your liver cancer risk, or someone in your family has one of those conditions or has had liver cancer in the past, it’s recommended that you get screened regularly for signs of liver cancer. This gives you the best chance to catch any form of liver cancer early and seek treatment immediately.
Contact Your Local Cancer Center With Questions!
If you have any questions about ways you can work to prevent liver cancer, the risk factors, or how to schedule a screening, just contact us at Southeast Radiation Oncology Center. Our passion is helping families and individuals reach a better state of health. Our local cancer center is located locally in Juneau for the close-to-home care every patient deserves.