Friday, January 25, 2008

What is the scope of liver cancer problems?

Liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the world. A deadly cancer, liver cancer will kill almost all patients who have it within a year. In 1990, the World Health Organization estimated that there were about 430,000 new cases of liver cancer worldwide, and a similar number of patients died as a result of this disease. About three quarters of the cases of liver cancer are found in Southeast Asia (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan). Liver cancer is also very common in sub-Saharan Africa (Mozambique and South Africa).

The frequency of liver cancer in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa is greater than 20 cases per 100,000 population. In contrast, the frequency of liver cancer in North America and Western Europe is much lower, less than five per 100,000 population. However, the frequency of liver cancer among native Alaskans is comparable to that seen in Southeast Asia. Moreover, recent data show that the frequency of liver cancer in the U.S. overall is rising. This increase is due primarily to chronic hepatitis C, an infection of the liver that causes liver cancer.