Liver Cancer

Large family sitting on grass

The liver is the largest organ in the human body, located on the upper right side of the body, behind the lower ribs. The liver stores nutrients, removes waste products from the blood, and produces bile, a solution that helps digest fats and eliminate waste products. Many liver cancer cases are related to the hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus infections. Heavy alcohol use, obesity, and diabetes also can increase risk for getting liver cancer. To lower your risk for liver cancer, get vaccinated against Hepatitis B, get tested for Hepatitis C, and don’t drink too much alcohol.

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Key Facts

  • New liver cancer cases and deaths are on the rise in the United States.
  • Many liver cancer cases are related to the hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus.
  • Heavy alcohol use, obesity, and diabetes also can increase risk for getting liver cancer.
  • Symptoms can include discomfort in the upper right side of the abdomen, a lump below the rib cage, jaundice, and nausea.
  • Each year in the U.S., about 24,000 men and 9,500 women get liver cancer, and about 17,800 men and 8,700 women die from it.

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Lower Your Risk

Lower Your Risk

You can lower your chances of getting liver cancer in several ways. Get tested for Hepatitis C if you were born between 1945 and 1965. Talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated against Hepatitis B, and avoid drinking too much alcohol.

Man getting vaccination

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. The virus can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. The Hepatitis B vaccine is available for all age groups to prevent Hepatitis B infection.

Alcohol Raises Cancer Risk

Alcohol Raises Cancer Risk

Drinking alcohol raises the risk of some cancers, including liver cancer. The less alcohol you drink, the lower the risk of cancer.

Prevention Tips

  • The Hepatitis B virus infection can lead to liver disease or liver cancer. The Hepatitis B vaccine is available for all age groups to prevent Hepatitis B infection.
  • If you were born between 1945 and 1965, CDC recommends that you get tested for Hepatitis C, a virus that can lead to liver cancer.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol.

More at CDC.gov

Page last reviewed: October 2, 2019