What Are the Risk Factors for Liver Cancer

What Are the Risk Factors for Liver CancerW

hat Are the Risk Factors for Liver Cancer?

• Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B infections increase the risk of liver cancer. Hepatitis B viruses can insert viral DNA into the chromosomes in liver cells, trigger gene mutations, and lead to liver cancer. Taiwan distinguished itself in the fight against hepatitis B infections. Starting in 1980, the island carried out a nationwide mandatory program of hepatitis B vaccinations in children. Since then, the incidence rate of hepatitis B infection in Taiwan has dropped from 10% in 1980 to less than 1% at present.

• Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C infections lead to fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Hepatitis C viruses can insert viral RNA into the chromosomes of liver cells, direct the infected cells to make viral proteins, and force them to undergo cell division and proliferation to produce more viruses. The hepatitis C–infected liver cells can transform into cancerous cells and cause liver cancer.

• Cirrhosis. Alcoholic or nonalcoholic cirrhosis increases the risk of liver cancer. Patients with liver cancer often had cirrhotic problems. Cirrhosis is characterized by loss of regenerative functions, fibrosis, and death of liver cells; all these pathological changes are risk factors for liver cancer.

• Obesity. Obesity causes chronic inflammation and releases inflammatory cytokines in the liver, resulting in fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and fibrosis, all of which increase the risk of liver cancer.

• Diabetes. Patients with diabetes who receive inpatient hospital care have a fourfold increased risk of liver cancer, which is attributed to high blood levels of insulin, insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, and chronic hepatitis infections common in severe type 2 diabetes patients.