Various factors increase the risk of liver cancer. These factors include underlying medical conditions, such as cirrhosis and hepatitis, exposure to harmful chemicals, exposure to aflatoxins, and use of anabolic steroids. There are various ways to reduce the risk of liver cancer.
Risks For Liver Cancer
Although the exact cause of liver cancer remains unknown, however, various factors increase its risk. Underlying medical conditions as well as a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of liver cancer. The liver is the organ that metabolizes the food we eat, the drugs we take, the toxins we are exposed to, and performs various other functions. Age and gender are also factors determining the risk of cancer. People above the age of 60 years are at high risk for developing liver cancer. Males are more prone to hepatocellular carcinoma as compared to females. Thus, you should take good care of your liver and lower the risk of liver cancer.
People with hepatitis B and hepatitis viral infections are at high risk of developing liver cancer. If the infection is not treated, it may lead to liver cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis. Unprotected sexual intercourse, exposure to infected fluid or blood, and needle contamination while drug usage results in the transmission of hepatitis.
The timely treatment of hepatitis infections helps in the recovery of the patients. The adults with a chronic infection or its carrier are at high risk of developing liver cancer. Infants and children with hepatitis are significant carriers of hepatitis infection.
Liver cirrhosis increases the risk of liver cancer. In liver cirrhosis, there are scars in the liver that reduces the functional capacity of the liver. There are various causes of liver cirrhosis, such as fatty liver disease, hepatitis, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity.
Other causes for liver cirrhosis are the autoimmune diseases that cause primary biliary cirrhosis. In this condition, then there is damage to the bile ducts leading to cirrhosis. In advanced stages of primary biliary cirrhosis, the risk of liver cancer is high. Some patients have hemochromatosis. In this condition, the body absorbs excess iron resulting in its accumulation in the liver leading to cirrhosis.
If you are obese, you are at high risk of developing fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease progress to cause liver cirrhosis, which is a high-risk factor for liver cancer. You may have alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
If you are smoking for a few years and consuming alcohol, you can develop liver inflammation. The inflammation in the liver may result in liver cirrhosis that may lead to liver cancer.
Harmful Chemical Exposure
Exposure to harmful chemicals also increases the risk of liver cancer. The person may be exposed to these chemicals during the course of work. Vinyl chloride and thorium dioxide increase the risk of angiosarcoma and hepatocellular cancer. Vinyl chloride is generally used in the plastic industry, while thorium dioxide is used during the radiological examination.
Aflatoxin is a poisonous substance produced by mold which is found on crops that are not properly stored. Exposure to aflatoxin increases the risk of cancer.
Anabolic steroids also increase the risk of liver cancer. These steroids also transform the hepatocellular adenoma to carcinoma.
How To Lower Your Risk For Liver Cancer
Following are the tips through which a person may reduce the risk for liver cancer:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid smoking and drinking excessive alcohol.
- Get a vaccination for hepatitis B.
- Practice hygiene to avoid hepatitis C infection.
- Keep your blood sugar level under control.
- Maintain a low sugar diet and exercise regularly.