Liver Health: Statistics
This year, an estimated 39,230 adults (28,410 men and 10,820 women) in the United States will have primary liver cancer.
It is estimated that 27,170 deaths (18,280 men and 8,890 women) from this disease will occur this year. Liver cancer is the 10th most common cancer and the 5th most common cause of cancer death among men. It is also the 8th most common cause of cancer death among women.
When compared with the United States, liver cancer is much more common in developing countries within Africa and East Asia. In some countries, it is the most common cancer type.
The 1-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 1 year after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 1-year survival rate for people with liver cancer is 44%. The 5-year survival rate is 17%.
For the 43% of people who are diagnosed at an early stage, the 5-year survival rate is 31%. If liver cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 11%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 3%. However, even if the cancer is found at a more advanced stage, medicines are available that help many people with liver cancer experience a quality of life similar to that of before their diagnosis, at least for some time.
Primary liver cancer is about twice as common in men than in women.
About 70 percent of people with autoimmune hepatitis are women, usually between the ages of 15 and 40. Many people with this disease also have other autoimmune diseases. The disease is chronic, meaning it lasts many years. Less common forms of autoimmune hepatitis generally affects girls between the ages of 2 and 14.
More than one million Americans are infected with hepatitis B and four million Americans have hepatitis C. Unlike hepatitis A and hepatitis B, there’s no vaccine to help with hepatitis C.
A hot news topic is the 20 percent of Americans who have fatty livers, which is the basis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD.
Each year, about 21,000 Americans are shown to have primary liver cancer—one of the few cancers on the rise in the U.S.
Hepatitis C is called “the silent epidemic.” Three-quarters of people infected with hepatitis C don’t know they have it because they can have no symptoms for years. The disease often lies undetected for 20 to 30 years and is a leading cause of cirrhosis and liver failure. (Think about the baby boomers who simply don’t know).
There are usually no symptoms of cirrhosis in its early stage. Over time, cirrhosis may cause symptoms, complications and even lead to liver failure.
References: 1) http://www.cancer.org/cancer/livercancer/detailedguide/liver-cancer-what-is-key-statistics, 2) http://www.liverfoundation.org/education/liverlowdown/ll1013/bigpicture/
Elevated liver enzymes
Elevated liver enzymes may indicate inflammation or damage to cells in the liver. Inflamed or injured liver cells leak higher than normal amounts of certain chemicals, including liver enzymes, into the bloodstream, which can result in elevated liver enzymes on blood tests.
The specific elevated liver enzymes most commonly found are:
• Alanine transaminase (ALT)
• Aspartate transaminase (AST)
Elevated liver enzymes may be discovered during routine blood testing. In most cases, liver enzyme levels are only mildly and temporarily elevated. Most of the time, elevated liver enzymes don't signal a chronic, serious liver problem.
Many diseases and conditions can contribute to elevated liver enzymes. Your doctor determines the specific cause of your elevated liver enzymes by reviewing your medications, your signs and symptoms and, in some cases, other tests and procedures.
More common causes of abnormal liver enzymes include:
• Certain prescription medications, including statin drugs used to control cholesterol
• Drinking alcohol or smoking copious amounts of marijuana
• Heart failure
• Hepatitis A
• Hepatitis B
• Hepatitis C
• Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
• Over-the-counter pain medications, particularly acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)
Other causes of raised liver enzymes may include:
• Alcoholic hepatitis (severe liver inflammation caused by excessive alcohol consumption)
• Autoimmune hepatitis (liver inflammation caused by an autoimmune disorder)
• Celiac disease (small intestine damage caused by gluten)
• Cirrhosis (early stages of liver scarring)
• Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection
• Dermatomyositis (inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness and skin rash)
• Epstein-Barr virus
• Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis)
• Hiatal hernia
• Hemochromatosis (too much iron stored in your body)
• Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
• Liver cancer
• Pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation)
• Polymyositis (inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness)
• Toxic hepatitis (liver inflammation caused by drugs, marijuana, alcohol, or toxins)
• Wilson's disease (too much copper stored in your body)