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17 AUGUST 2020

Liver Week 2020

Did you know there are over 100 types of liver diseases?

As the American Liver Foundation, our mission is to promote education, advocacy, support services and research for the prevention, treatment and cure of liver disease. That means all liver disease. We work to fulfill our mission by meeting the needs of these varied patient populations through diverse programming, in depth resources, local and federal advocacy work, compassionate and accessible support services, and by funding essential liver related research.

Next week, August 24—28, will be our first ever Annual Liver Week. We would like to take time to highlight our response for five different types of liver disease. We truly rely on the four pillars of our mission, education, advocacy, support services, and research, to guide our work. During Liver Week, we will unpack how ALF is making a difference in the lives of Americans with Liver Disease and how you can help.


Click below to visit our daily highlights for Liver Week 2020!


Did you know NAFLD is the most prevalent disease in human history? It is estimated to affect nearly 2 billion people worldwide and about 100 million individuals in the United States.

It can be hard to truly appreciate large numbers, like 100 million and 2 billion. Can you recall the last time you saw a billion of anything? Let’s think, for a moment, about those numbers in terms of time:

  •  1 million seconds is about 11.5 days
    • 100 million seconds is a little more than 3 years
  • 1 billion seconds is just shy of 32 years
    • 2 billion seconds is about 63.5 years

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), is the most common form of liver disease in children and has more than doubled over the past 20 years. NAFLD, and the more aggressive advanced form of the disease, Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), has reached epidemic proportions in our country.

The American Liver Foundation is working diligently to raise awareness of this disease, associated illness like type 2 diabetes and obesity, and modifiable risk factors like diet and exercise.

Click here to learn more about NAFLD/NASH, our efforts, and how you can help!

Tuesday: Living Donor Liver Transplant

Did you know…

  • Liver and kidney disease kill over 120,000 people each year, more than Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, or prostate cancer.
  • Liver transplantation continues to be the second most common form of organ transplantation done in the United States.
  • 25% of people on the waiting list for a new liver die waiting.

But there’s hope. The liver is an amazing organ with unique regeneration abilities; this regenerative quality allows skilled surgeons to perform a living-donor liver transplant. During a living-donor liver transplant, a portion of the liver from one person, the donor, is transplanted into another individual, the recipient, replacing their damaged liver. Within a few months of the surgery, the donor’s remaining liver regenerates, returning to normal volume and capacity. Meanwhile, the transplanted liver portion grows and restores normal liver function in the recipient.

However, people in need of a live liver donor are required to identify their own donor, presenting a huge challenge to patients and their families. The American Liver Foundation continues to develop resources and advocate for people considering living-donor liver transplant, either as a donor or recipient.

Click here to learn more about Living-Donor Liver Transplantation, our efforts, and how you can help!

Wednesday: Liver Cancer

Did you know rates of liver cancer incidence have more than tripled since 1980? During this time, death rates have more than doubled.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2020:

  • About 42,810 new cases of primary liver cancer and intrahepatic bile duct cancer will be diagnosed.
  • About 30,160 people will die of these cancers.

While many other types of cancers have become very treatable and curable, liver cancer continues to claim the lives of thousands of Americans every year. The most reliable cure for liver cancer is to completely surgically remove the tumor—either by removing part of the liver through resection or removing the entire liver in a liver transplant. Primary liver cancer continues to be a leading cause for liver transplants in our country, often caused by NAFLD/NASH,

hepatitis C, or alcohol related liver disease. Sadly, many people cannot be considered for a liver resection or liver transplant.

Here at the American Liver Foundation, we know how hard it is to receive a diagnosis of liver cancer. We are dedicated to ensuring people at risk for liver cancer are screened properly, assisting patients navigating treatment options, transplant, or clinical trains, and to funding essential liver cancer research.

Click here to learn more about liver cancer, our efforts, and how you can help!

Thursday: Biliary Atresia

Did you know that Biliary Atresia is the most common indication for liver transplant in children?

Many people are not aware you can be born with liver disease or develop it in childhood. Here at the American Liver Foundation we know liver disease doesn’t discriminate based on age. We support many children and their families as they learn to live with liver disease. We are committed to raising awareness about the numerous forms of pediatric liver diseases but, today, we want to highlight Biliary Atresia (BA).

We kicked off our first Annual Liver week by sharing information about the NAFLD/NASH epidemic in America. While BA is the most common cause for liver transplant in children, it is a rare disease and occurs in about 1 in 12,000 births in the United States. BA only affects infants and is typically diagnosed shortly after birth. This disease causes a toxic back-up of bile in the liver which can sometimes be corrected with a surgery in infancy. Children with BA must undergo this surgery in the first few weeks or months of life. For two-thirds of children who are diagnosed with BA, this surgery will work to save the liver and they will not need a transplant in infancy (but may need one in childhood or adulthood). The other third will require a transplant as an infant.

From new parents coping with a new diagnosis to children living with liver disease needing to navigate the challenges of COVID-19, the American Liver Foundation is here to help. We are humbled to share in so many families journey with BA and other forms of pediatric liver disease.

Click here to learn more about Biliary Atresia, our efforts, and how you can help!

Friday: Viral Hepatitis

Did you know that incidence of hepatitis A and hepatitis C in the United States has increased significantly from 2014 to 2018?

The CDC’s most recently released Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Report revealed stark increases in case counts reported in 2018 over those in 2014:

  • Hepatitis A incidence rates increased nearly 850% from 2014 to 2018
  • Acute hepatitis C incidence rates increased over 71% from 2014 to 2018

Outbreaks of both hepatitis A and hepatitis C have drastically increased in recent years. Hepatitis A outbreaks in recent years have been tied to foodborne transmission and person-to-person transmission through close contact with someone who is infected. Person-to-person transmission has been seen, most recently, among people who use drugs, people experiencing homelessness, and men who have sex with men. While hepatitis C was traditionally a disease seen primarily among Baby Boomers, the highest reported incidence in the United States is now among people aged 20-29 years old. Recently, there is an emerging hepatitis C epidemic among young people who inject drugs, mainly in rural and suburban settings as a result of opioid misuse.

Some types of viral hepatitis are preventable with a vaccine while others are curable. Yet, viral hepatitis continues to claim and negatively impact the lives of millions of Americans. The American Liver Foundation remains active in the public health response to the rising rates of viral hepatitis: coordinating with local departments of health in elimination efforts, offering community education programs in high risk community settings, organizing patient and provider education, and ensuring equal access to medication.

Click here to learn more about Viral Hepatitis, our efforts, and how you can help!

Last Updated on December 1, 2020


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