Deaths From Liver Cancer Rise In U.S. Adults

The researchers suspect the economic downturn in 2008 prompted people to comfort themselves with alcohol.

Liver cancer deaths have increased in the US, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The biggest group of victims were people between the ages of 25 and 34 and the major cause was alcohol. The fluid in the abdomen can make it look and feel "like you have multiple bowling balls" in your stomach, Tapper said. However, Tapper also noted there is "an excellent chance your liver will fix itself" if you have an alcohol-related disease but stop drinking. The agency said that liver cancer had moved to the sixth-leading cause of cancer deaths in 2016, up from the ninth-leading cause in 2000. Tapper believes that the problem related to this issue lies in the fact that "we do not yet have a highly effective treatment for alcohol addiction". A lot of younger men are showing up very sick.

For the study, Tapper's team reviewed death certificate data for almost 600,000 USA adults.

The spike in liver-disease deaths hit whites, Native Americans and Hispanics - though Asian Americans actually bucked this trend, researchers said.

Neehar Parikh, co-author of the study, said deaths due to alcohol-related liver disease are preventable and suggested alcohol taxes and less alcohol marketing as possible strategies to reduce such deaths.

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The increase in liver cancer comes as overall cancer death rates in the United States continue to decline, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The new study found that men were twice as likely to die from cirrhosis and almost four times as likely to die from liver cancer as women.

Only one state, Maryland, saw a significant decrease in cirrhosis deaths, of about 1 percent, the findings showed. For example, deaths in Kentucky rose almost 7 percent, in New Mexico 6 percent and in Arkansas almost 6 percent. However, heavy drinking is a risk factor for liver cancer and associated conditions, according to the ACS.

The report was published online July 18 in the BMJ.

Between 2000 and 2016, liver cancer deaths were up 43 percent for men and 40 percent for women aged 25 and older, the CDC reported.

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