Over the last two decades, deaths caused by liver cancer have increased by 80% 1, making it one of the fastest-growing causes of cancer deaths worldwide.
According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, the most comprehensive worldwide observational epidemiological study to date, 830,000 people died as a result of the disease in 2016 compared to 464,000 people in 1990.1 This makes liver cancer the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, after lung cancer.
Primary liver cancer, the most prevalent liver cancer worldwide, can be attributed to heavy drinking and other lifestyle choices but is most commonly caused by long-term infection with the hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus. These viruses are a major public health challenge, affecting over 325 million people, worldwide.
Globally, two out of three liver cancer deaths are caused by hepatitis B or C. 1 The Western Pacific and South East Asia regions record the largest numbers of people living with the viruses and also some of the highest cases of liver cancer deaths globally. In China alone, over 260,000 liver cancer deaths caused by hepatitis B and C were recorded in 2016, accounting for a third of the global liver cancer death toll.
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