Obesity Drives Liver Cancer in Developed Nations
FRIDAY, June 15, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Liver cancer cases in several developed countries have doubled in the past 25 years, due to the continuing obesity epidemic and a spike in hepatitis infections, new research suggests. Even worse, the sharp rise in liver cancer cases is starting to swamp the limited number of liver specialists in those nations, the researchers added. In the four countries — the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada — liver cancer is the only major cancer for which death rates are rising. “While the individual rates in these countries differ, the trends are the same,” said lead researcher Dr. Morris Sherman, from the University Health Network and the University of Toronto.
Cancer Research UK predicts a further 40 percent increase in liver cancer cases by 2035.
“While the obesity epidemic is showing no signs of abating, we could make a huge impact on future liver cancer rates by investing more resources in screening and diagnosis of hepatitis B and C,” Sherman said.
New antiviral drugs cure 95 percent of hepatitis C patients who begin therapy. While such highly effective treatments are not available for hepatitis B, there are drugs that can control the infection and prevent progression to liver cancer in most cases. And new drug combinations may arrive within the next five years, the researchers said.
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