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Rise of Liver Cancer Rates and Link to Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Highlight Importance of Early Detection

October 19, 2020


Join us in supporting October 2020 Liver Cancer Awareness Month

In the spirit of Liver Cancer Awareness Month this October, Echosens would like to highlight some alarming trends to help raise awareness about the importance of the liver for overall health:

  • Liver cancer rates have more than tripled since 1980, while death rates have more than doubled during this time.
  • About 21,000 Americans are diagnosed with primary liver cancer each year—twice as common in men than in women.

Risk factors include other liver diseases, including cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis B, chronic hepatitis C and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).


Who’s Most at Risk?

NAFLD may be a key driver of increased cancer associated with obesity, while non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the fastest growing cause of liver cancer among transplant candidates.

Researchers have found that liver cancer, NAFLD, hepatitis C and liver transplants are prevalent in 40-80% of people who have Type 2 diabetes and in 30-90% of people who are obese. Being overweight or obese is responsible for about 85% of fatty liver disease.

People with NAFLD have higher rates of several types of cancer, with the greatest increase seen for liver cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers.


Early Detection Saves Lives

Traditional approaches to assessing liver health, such as liver biopsy and advanced radiological imaging, have generated response that these tests may not be cost effective, or accessible to the broader at-risk population.

Point-of-care examinations, monitoring and ongoing assessment of liver fat and stiffness as provided by FibroScan, a rapid, non-invasive point of care examination, can more cost-effectively identify individuals who are asymptomatic and undiagnosed for liver damage. This also offers needed metrics for monitoring changes in liver fat due to lifestyle modification.

FibroScan directly measures physical properties of stiffness and fat liver to provide reproducible results and allow for both diagnosis and monitoring of liver stiffness and liver fat. It is also recognized worldwide as the reference for non-invasive liver diagnosis supported with more than 2,000 medical publications and 40 guideline recommendations.

During Liver Cancer Awareness Month, we hope to raise awareness about the critical need for primary care physicians and specialists to take a leading role in helping Americans to recognize the need for early detection and prevention of liver disease.

To learn more about liver diseases, check out this podcast from NASHNET, a global network of thought leaders dedicated to innovating NASH care delivery.