Deaths From Liver Cancer Rise In U.S. Adults

American’s Dying from Drinking and Obesity is Alarming

Only one state, Maryland, saw a significant decrease in cirrhosis deaths, of about 1 percent, the findings showed.

"His whole body was yellow", Tapper remembers.

The patient was suffering from chronic liver disease. "Liver cancer screening requires a simple-to-complete blood test, called alpha fetoprotein, and an abdominal ultrasound".

The Great Recession continues to take a grim toll: Since 2009, a growing number of Americans have died from liver disease and liver cancer.

"If they present to us, at an advanced stage, which is what has been observed commonly with patients in liver cancer over the past so many years, with chemotherapy is the way to go", he said. A lot of younger men are showing up very sick. The study also found whites, Native Americans and Hispanic Americans are experiencing increased death rates for cirrhosis, along with people living in Kentucky, Arkansas and New Mexico.

Researchers say that deaths due to cirrhosis - or damage that leads to scarring of the liver or liver failure - increased across the U.S. by 65 percent since 1999.

A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released earlier this week echoed these findings.

Fewer Asians and Pacific Islanders died of liver cancer.


"If you have hepatitis C, get regular screenings", Neil added.

Both Dr Tapper and Dr Parikh says that deaths due to alcohol-related disease can be prevented on multiple fronts. "But more research is needed", Tapper says. The reason for the spike is unclear, but Dr. Neehar Parikh, a liver specialist at the University of Michigan Medical School and Tapper's co-author, has a theory. The increase is one part of a rising number of "deaths of despair" caused by suicide and drug and alcohol abuse, which have contributed to declining life expectancy in the US. "We hypothesize that there may be a loss of opportunity, and the psychological burden that comes with that may have driven some of those patients to abusive drinking". He believes the cases he's seeing now in young people are caused by changes in the way people drink.

The study is the latest to confirm that liver-related illnesses are becoming increasingly prevalent.

Death rates in the USA have doubled from 2000 to 2016. And a recent study of veterans found that cirrhosis cases almost doubled between 2001 and 2013. However, heavy drinking is a risk factor for liver cancer and associated conditions, according to the ACS. "It fits with what we see in practice". As a result, the growth in cirrhosis has largely come from alcoholic liver disease and non-alcoholic liver disease.

Over the past decade, people ages 25 to 34 had the highest increase in cirrhosis deaths - an average of 10.5 percent per year - of the demographic groups examined, researchers reported.

But hepatitis C can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer, and only one in five people who are at risk actually get screened, even though that screening can save lives. A study? found that in the US, about 71 percent of all liver cancer diagnoses can be attributable to preventable risk factors, such as cigarette smoking and obesity.

Tapper said "there's an excellent chance your liver will fix itself" in the wake of decreased alcohol consumption.

Tapper says he thinks that policy could play a role in addressing the problem.

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