In the United States, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common form of chronic liver disease, and the number of people diagnosed each year is steadily increasing.
The dramatic increase in death rates from liver cancer are due to a perfect storm of an aging baby boomer population with hepatitis C, the rapid rise in the prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and the ongoing risk of liver cancer among patients with alcoholic liver disease.
Baby boomers and people with certain risk factors should be screened for hepatitis C. Getting tested is easy; current treatments are simple and have a high cure rate.
Approximately 3.5 to 5.3 million Americans are infected with viral hepatitis, but most people do not know they are part of a silent epidemic. This puts them at greater risk of developing severe complications of hepatitis and more likely to spread the virus to others. That’s why the federal government has called on certain groups of Americans to get tested for chronic forms of hepatitis and, if needed, undergo treatment.
Preventive care is a crucial aspect of chronic liver disease management, and liver cancer screening is a top priority. Liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, and its incidence is expected to rise in the United States in coming years. So who should be screened for liver cancer, how do we make the diagnosis and what treatment options are available?