Risk Factors for Liver Cancer

A risk factor is something about you that increases your chance of getting a disease or having a certain health condition. Some risk factors for primary liver cancer you cannot change, but some you can. Changing the risk factors that you have control over will help you live a longer, healthier life.

Risk factors do not mean that you will get the disease. Many people who have these risk factors do not develop the disease and many who develop the disease did not have any of these risk factors.

The risk factors for primary liver cancer are:

  • Chronic viral hepatitis – People infected with hepatitis B and hepatitis C are at very high risk of developing chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, and primary liver cancer.
  • Heavy alcohol consumption – People who drink a lot of alcohol are at a greater risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver, which is associated with an increased risk of primary liver cancer.
  • Cirrhosis of the liver – People with cirrhosis of the liver are at an increased risk of developing primary liver cancer.
  • Gender – Primary liver cancer is more common in men than in women.
  • Race/ethnicity – In the United States, primary liver cancer is more common in Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders than in Latinos, African Americans and whites.
  • Age – Primary liver cancer is more common in people over the age of 60.
  • Obesity – Obese people are at a greater risk of developing primary liver cancer than those who maintain a normal weight.
  • Environmental risks – Vinyl chloride and thorium dioxide may increase the risk of developing primary liver cancer. People who each food contaminated with aflatoxin may also be at greater risk of developing primary liver cancer.
  • Anabolic steroids – People who use anabolic steroids to increase muscle mass may be at a greater risk of developing primary liver cancer.

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