Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Liver cancer can be avoided with lifestyle changes and precautions

Liver cancer, the third most frequent cause of cancer death in India, can be avoided with simple actions. Health profiling of patients who reported to a tertiary care hospital in Delhi between 2000 and 2012 has revealed that most cases could be prevented with simple lifestyle changes such as avoiding excess alcohol, having protected sex and getting vaccinated against the hepatitis B virus.

According to the study, which involved 140 patients, hepatitis B was the most common cause of liver cancer affecting as many as 56 (39%) patients, followed by alcohol which affected 31 (22%) patients. Other causes included cryptogenic or unknown causes but characterized by high incidence of diabetes and hepatitis C.

The prevalence of diabetes was found to be 25% in liver cancer patients. When the presence of diabetes was analyzed in different liver cancer patients, it was found that the prevalence of diabetes was higher in patients cryptogenic (58%) when compared to other etiologies. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of diabetes in alcohol group (19%) compared to the viral group (17%.

The study, published in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology, also states that liver cancer caused by hepatitis B infection spreads faster. Hepatitis B-related cases have extremely poor prognosis with median survival less than 16 months - 36% to 67% after one year and 15% to 26% after five years of diagnosis.

Intravenous drug abuse, body piercing and use of contaminated or used syringes cause hepatitis C infection leading to liver cancer. Hepatitis viruses are 30 times more prevalent than HIV in Southeast Asia. Due to the asymptomatic nature of these infections, about 60% of infected individuals remain unaware until they show symptoms of cirrhosis or liver cancer which may take over 20 years.


Post a Comment