Drinking alcohol in moderation (or abstaining entirely) is one way to reduce the risk of developing liver cancer. Research has shown that heavy, long-term alcohol use can cause inflammation and scarring in the liver. Cirrhosis, a form of liver disease that is characterized by irreversible liver damage, is one of the main known risk factors for liver cancer. As the body attempts to repair the damaged tissues, the liver cells can develop mutations in their DNA, potentially allowing cancer to develop. As a result, the American Cancer Society recommends that men have no more than two alcoholic beverages per day, while women should have no more than one.
Other ways to lower liver cancer risk
In addition to limiting alcohol consumption, some other ways to lower the risk of developing liver cancer include:
- Avoiding tobacco products
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Taking steps to avoid becoming infected with the hepatitis B and C viruses (such steps include avoiding unprotected sex and only using sterilized needles for medical purposes)
- Avoiding exposure to arsenic and aflatoxins
- Not taking anabolic steroids to build muscle
What you need to know about liver cancer screenings
If you are at high risk for developing liver cancer, routine screenings can help detect any abnormal changes in their earliest stages, when you’re likely to have the widest range of treatment options. Even if you are a low-risk individual, your medical professional may still recommend occasional (but less frequent) screenings for the same reason. Early detection has helped improve survival rates and quality of life for individuals with liver cancer and remains one of the most important tools for continuing to improve outcomes well into the future.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we have a comprehensive liver cancer screening and treatment program for which no referral is required. To request an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.