Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Factors that increase the risk of primary liver cancer include:
- Your sex. Men are more likely to develop liver cancer than are women.
- Your age. In North America, Europe and Australia, liver cancer most commonly affects older adults. In developing countries of Asia and Africa, liver cancer diagnosis tends to occur at a younger age — between 20 and 50.
- Chronic infection with HBV or HCV. Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) increases your risk of liver cancer.
- Cirrhosis. This progressive and irreversible condition causes scar tissue to form in your liver and increases your chances of developing liver cancer.
- Certain inherited liver diseases. Liver diseases that can increase the risk of liver cancer include hemochromatosis and Wilson's disease.
- Diabetes. People with this blood sugar disorder have a greater risk of liver cancer than do people who don't have diabetes.
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. An accumulation of fat in the liver increases the risk of liver cancer.
- Exposure to aflatoxins. Consuming foods contaminated with fungi that produce aflatoxins greatly increases the risk of liver cancer. Crops such as corn and peanuts can become contaminated with aflatoxins. In the United States, safety regulations limit aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxin contamination is more common in certain parts of Africa and Asia.
- Excessive alcohol consumption. Consuming more than a moderate amount of alcohol daily over many years can lead to irreversible liver damage and increase your risk of liver cancer.
- Obesity. Having an unhealthy body mass index increases the risk of liver cancer.
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