To help support Liver Cancer Awareness Month this October, Echosens points to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as a key driver of increased cancer associated with obesity. Although hepatitis B and C have been the main causes of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the more severe form of NAFLD, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), has also become an important driver.
Since 1980, liver cancer rates have more than tripled, while death rates have more than doubled during this time. Concurrently, between 1976 and 2008, the prevalence of obesity in the United States has increased substantially, increasing from 15% to 34% among adults and from 5% to 17% among children and adolescents.
It’s also important to note that adult primary liver cancer is more common in men than women, and among Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native populations.
Prevention and Early Detection
As one of the largest organs in the body, the liver plays an essential role in maintaining overall health by filtering harmful substances from the blood, producing bile that aids digestion of fats and stores sugar the body uses for energy.
Fortunately, non-invasive, point-of-care examinations are available for monitoring and ongoing assessment of liver fat and stiffness. Echosens’ FibroScan®, a rapid, non-invasive point of care examination that directly measures physical properties of stiffness and fat liver, provides a cost-effective way to identify individuals who are asymptomatic and undiagnosed for liver damage. It also provides metrics for monitoring changes in liver fat due to lifestyle modification targeting body fat.
During Liver Cancer Awareness Month, we hope more industry leaders, policy makers, providers and individuals will join us in helping to raise awareness about the critical need for primary care physicians and specialists to focus on the prevention and early detection of liver disease.