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UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

Asian populations experience a disproportionately high rate of liver cancer due to an increased prevalence of infection with the hepatitis B and C viruses, which are known to cause liver cancer. The rate of liver cancer in the state is expected to increase, as California is now home to more than 4 million Asian residents, many of whom reside in Los Angeles County. About 2,190 county residents are expected to be diagnosed with liver cancer in 2007. Of those, 1,700 will die.

Risk Factors
  • Gender - Men are more likely to get liver cancer than are women.
  • Certain Liver Diseases – Infection with hepatitis B and C increases risk. People with hepatitis A do not have an increased risk.
  • Cirrhosis - The result of scar tissue in the liver, cirrhosis can lead to cancer. Alcohol abuse and hepatitis B and C cause scarring.
  • Tobacco use – Smoking increases risk.
  • Diabetes – Can increase risk, usually in people who have other risk factors such as heavy drinking or viral hepatitis.
  • Obesity – Obesity may increase the risk.

Diagnosis and Treatment
Liver cancer is difficult to diagnose early because patients often exhibit few symptoms. The liver also is a difficult organ to examine manually due to its location under the rib cage. Additionally, liver cancer often grows very quickly, prohibiting an early diagnosis. Liver cancer causes death in 75 percent of patients within a year of diagnosis. Liver cancer does not respond to chemotherapy. Treatments include surgery, liver transplant, radiation and tumor ablation or embolization.

Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center
The Dumont-UCLA Liver Cancer Center offers comprehensive care for liver cancer patients, providing a powerful combination of clinical treatment and medical research. Physicians in the multidisciplinary consortium draw on the collective expertise of hepatologists, oncologists, radiologists, radiation therapists, pathologists and surgeons.

Sources: American Cancer Society, California Cancer Registry

Last updated: 7/10/2008 10:57:12 AM