MOST adults are unaware of what can increase their risk of liver cancer, the fastest growing cause of cancer death in the UK.
Primary liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is the fastest growing cause of cancer death in the UK and due to late diagnosis. Only 13% with the disease will survive for more than five years.
But 87% of people surveyed thought the figure was much higher than this.
The British Liver Trust survey found that nine in 10 people do not realise that men are twice as likely to be diagnosed.
The survey also revealed:
More than half are unaware that having an underlying liver condition, being overweight or Type 2 diabetes can increase their risk of liver cancer.
Only 1 in 10 people would be “extremely concerned” if they were told there was a problem with their liver.
42% of people with dietary issues, putting them at risk of liver disease, were not tested or told about liver disease by their GP.
Further reasons for late diagnosis of liver cancer were revealed in a separate survey, which found that one in five patients waited more than six months to get a liver cancer diagnosis after their first visit to a GP.
Some patients said there were further delays in receiving treatment once they were diagnosed.
Dr Abid Suddle, consultant at Kings College Hospital, said: “Lack of awareness is a common problem and has contributed to the tripling of liver cancer deaths between 1997 to 2016.
“It is a complex and aggressive disease as most patients have an underlying liver condition so patients need to be treated for the cancer and liver disease. Early diagnosis is vital to provide the best options for treatment.”
Pamela Healy, chief executive at the British Liver Trust, adds: “We need to ensure that every person who is diagnosed with cirrhosis is scanned for liver cancer every six months so that the cancer can be picked up early.
“Taking care of your liver is one the most effective ways you can reduce your risk of cirrhosis which can lead to liver cancer.”
THE British Liver Trust’s Love Your Liver campaign focuses on three simple steps to Love Your Liver back to health:
- Drink within recommended limits and have three consecutive days off alcohol every week.
- Cut down on sugar, carbohydrates and fat, and take more exercise.
- Know the risk factors for viral hepatitis and get tested or vaccinated if at risk.
- BLT Helpline: 0800 652 7330