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Livers Diseased and Healthy
04 OCTOBER 2020

Progression of Liver Disease/Liver Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know there are more than 100 different liver diseases?

There are also many common causes of liver disease include:

  • Viruses
  • Genetics
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Poor diet and/or obesity
  • Reactions to medications, street drugs, or toxic chemicals

Most liver diseases result in similar damage to the liver and, for many, the progression of liver disease looks the same regardless of the underlying disease.

Many people with liver disease do not look or feel sick but damage is still happening. Over time, scar tissue builds within the liver and can lead to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can impact the liver’s ability to function and lead to serious complications. In the past decade, the incidence of cirrhosis has doubled in our country. Deaths due to cirrhosis are expected to triple by 2030.

A large proportion of people diagnosed with liver cancer have cirrhosis. The last 40 years have seen great strides in survival rates for many types of cancer thanks to improved surveillance, early detection, and expanded treatment option; however, since 1980 liver cancer incident rates have more than tripled and death rates have more than doubled. This year, in 2020, the American Cancer Society estimates nearly 43,000 people will be diagnosed with liver cancer and just over 30,000 people will die as a result of these cancers.

Typically, we take the month of October to promote liver cancer awareness and the startling impact in our country and worldwide. This year, we would like to shift gears slightly and raise awareness about the Progression of Liver Disease. The liver is an incredible organ that has the ability to repair itself, or regenerate, even if scar tissue has formed. If someone’s liver disease can be treated, well-managed, or cured early in the progression of liver disease, their liver will often be able to recover from any damage. We hope you will join us this month as we examine how liver diseases cause damage over time, the possibility of liver improvement, and the impact of advanced liver damage, including liver cancer.

That said, we will also focus on Liver Cancer in the second half of the month. We’ve also started a new liver cancer support group on Facebook, and hosting a virtual liver cancer conference on October 16th and 17th for patients and caregivers. We encourage you to join both!

Our vision is a world without liver disease. Looking at the startling statistics above, there is much work to be done. We hope by increasing awareness of how liver diseases impact the liver, we can empower people to talk to their doctor to determine their risk for liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Let’s stop the progression of liver disease and make our vision come true.

American Liver Foundation is solely responsible for this content, which is made possible through generous support from Mallinckrodt and Salix.

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