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Reaching Doctors: ALF Promotes Early Detection of Liver Cancer

The death rates for liver cancer are growing faster than for any other cancer in the United States, having doubled since the mid-1980’s. Together, we can change that. When liver cancer is caught early, the chance of survival increases dramatically (See below.) To promote life-saving early diagnosis and treatment, the American Liver Foundation is hosting professional education programs with doctors across the country.

The educational meetings, titled “Perspectives on Liver Surveillance,” highlight the results of recent medical studies and review evidence-based policies and practices for curtailing the incidence of the disease.

Individuals at risk for liver cancer also need to be armed with timely and accurate information. Today, we are sharing with you some of the information the American Liver Foundation has been presenting to the medical community.

· Hepatocellular carcarcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer, responds well to treatment if caught early.

· Early identification and treatment of liver cancer is critical. Five-year survival among patients with early stage HCC is more than 3 times the rate of survival among those with low level spreading of the disease and nearly 10 times the rate of the survival among those with wide-level spreading of the disease.

· HCC can be cured if detected early enough. Some of the procedures for cures include transplants, surgical resection, and radiofrequency ablation.

· Semi-annual surveillance (cancer screenings) is the best practice for early detection of HCC for high-risk patients. In a recent survey, patients who participated in twice-a-year liver surveillance not only outlived their counterparts who were only tested once per year, the semi-annually surveilled patients’ were caught at earlier stages of formation.

· Patients who have been cured of hepatitis C still need to be tested regularly for liver cancer. While sustained virologic response (SVR) dramatically reduces the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, these individuals’ overall risk of liver cancer is still 70-fold higher than the general population.

· Ultrasound assessment is the most common screening tool used to identify HCC. Alpha fetoprotein (AFP) blood may also help in identifying HCC, even though it is not part of certain guidelines.

· It is helpful to know, some of the rise in incidence of liver cancer is due to the fact that people are living longer with liver diseases that are precursors to liver cancer.

Learn more about Liver Cancer at our Disease Information Page.

Page updated: October 24th, 2017


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