More Than 55% People May Die From Liver Cancer Globally By 2040: Research

According to a recent estimate, primary liver cancer was one of the top three causes of cancer death in 46 countries in 2020, and by 2040, the number of primary liver cancer diagnoses and deaths may increase by more than 55% annually. In a recent article in the Elsevier-published Journal of Hepatology, researchers contend that disease control measures should be prioritized.

Isabelle Soerjomataram, MD, PhD, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO), Cancer Surveillance Branch, Lyon, France, said, “Liver cancer generates a large burden of disease globally each year.”

Major risk factors for this disease include hepatitis B and C viruses, alcohol use, excess body weight, and metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes. It is completely preventable if control efforts are addressed.

Harriet Rumgay, PhD candidate at the International Agency for Research on Cancer said, “In light of the availability of new and improved global cancer incidence and mortality estimates, we wanted to provide the most up-to-date assessment of the burden of liver cancer and develop an essential tool for national liver cancer control planning.”

He further added, “In this analysis, we describe where liver cancer ranks among all cancer types for cancer diagnoses and deaths in nations across the world. We also present predictions of the future liver cancer burden to 2040.”

The researchers took data on primary liver cancer incidence and mortality from the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s GLOBOCAN 2020 database, which produces cancer incidence and mortality estimates for 36 cancer types in 185 countries worldwide. United Nations population projections were used to determine projected changes in the number of cancer cases or deaths by 2040.

According to the findings, 830,200 people worldwide will die of liver cancer in 2020, with an expected 905,700 more people diagnosed with liver cancer. These statistics show that liver cancer is currently one of the top three causes of cancer death in 46 countries and one of the top five causes of cancer death in nearly 100 countries, including high-income countries.

Researchers are concerned that the finding that liver cancer incidence and death rates will continue to rise year after year. They warn that governments around the world must achieve at least a 3% annual decline in liver cancer incidence and mortality through preventive efforts to avoid this increase in cases and deaths.