Liver cancer occurs when liver cells mutate.There are several factors that increase the risk of DNA mutation causing liver cancer. One of the major factors that increase the risk of liver cancer is the chronic infection with HBV or HCV. According to the World Health Organization (2017), hepatitis B is a virus that attacks the liver and is transmitted through blood or body fluids. On the other hand, hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus. Improper practice of injection or transfusion are the possible ways of transmission. More than 95% of patients with hepatitus C can be cured by antiviral medicines. Apart from HBV and HCV infection, carcinogens including aflatoxins and arsenic can cause liver cancer (Yoshimoto et al.
, 2013). Aflatoxin is made by fungus. People exposing it in a long term have higher risk of liver cancer. Arsenic can be found in water wells as well. Reliance of water wells with arsenic leads to higher risks of liver cancer. Unhealthy lifestyle can lead to liver cancer also. Excessive alcohol consumption over many years can cause liver damage.
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Furthermore, obesity also leads to the accumulation of fat in the liver, which increases the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Patients with diabetes, especially those who also have hepatitis virus infection or excessive alcohol consumption, are also more likely to develop liver cancer (Yoshimoto et al., 2013). Male hormones like anabolic steroids, which are used by athletes and weightlifters regularly, can also enhance the risk of liver cancer (Yoshimoto et al., 2013).
Fourthly, liver cancer can be due to hereditary factors as well. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER, 2017) suggests that certain inherited liver diseases including hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease can enhance the risk of liver cancer. People with family history of liver cancer are of higher risk.
It is also suggested that people with L-carnitine deficiency have a higher risk of having liver cancers. Last but not least, people with weak immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS have a five times greater risk of having liver cancer than other healthy individuals too (Clifford et al., 2005).