Causes of Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is a serious condition that can be fatal if it isn't treated as soon as possible. There are many causes of this condition and numerous risk factors. Fortunately, research is being done to identify all the causes of liver cancer and ways to prevent it.

Main Causes

Liver cancer usually develops when the DNA located in the cells of the liver becomes damaged. DNA essentially gives instructions to cells, so when it's damaged, tumors or other abnormalities could develop. A list of conditions and behaviors that can potentially cause liver cancer includes:

  • Cirrhosis of the liver, which is scarring that can be caused by drinking large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis
  • Certain steroids, when taken over a period of time
  • Excessive smoking
  • Getting in an accident that damages the liver
  • Hepatitis B and C are also common causes of liver cancer.

Research

There is a great deal of research being conducted to fully understand the causes of liver cancer. Researchers have been trying to develop better treatments for hepatitis B and C so that people with these diseases won't develop liver cancer. Health experts are also working to develop special vaccinations that prevent liver cancer.

Since the exact cause of liver cancer and the chemicals involved isn't completely understood, research is being done on these topics. For example, the medical community has discovered that certain chemicals known as aflatoxins can cause liver cancer over time.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that increase the likelihood you'll develop liver cancer. Males are more likely to develop this type of cancer, and if someone in your immediate family has been diagnosed with the disease, you are more likely to develop it as well. Obesity, diabetes, and a weakened immune system can raise your risk of liver cancer. It's also important to avoid excessive smoking and drinking, as these actions can damage the liver.