Hepatitis B and C: Risk of Liver Cancer
People who are infected with Reference hepatitis B Opens New Window virus (HBV) or Reference hepatitis C Opens New Window (HCV) virus may develop a chronic infection that can lead to Reference cirrhosis Opens New Window. The damage that results increases the risk of liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma).
The risk of liver cancer is greater for people who have chronic HBV or HCV infection than for the general population.Reference 1
If you have chronic HBV infection:
- You may develop liver cancer even if you do not have cirrhosis. But most people who have HBV and liver cancer also have cirrhosis.
- Receiving antiviral therapy to treat chronic HBV infection may lower your risk for developing liver cancer.
If you have chronic HCV infection:
- The strain (genotype) of HCV infection does not appear to affect your risk for developing liver cancer.
- You are not at significant risk of developing cancer unless you also already have cirrhosis.
- You are at greatly increased risk of liver cancer if you have alcohol-related cirrhosis in addition to hepatitis.
- Receiving antiviral therapy to treat chronic HCV infection may lower your risk for developing liver cancer.Reference 2
Screening with Reference ultrasound Opens New Window of the liver, liver function tests, and blood tests (including alpha-fetoprotein [AFP]) every 6 to 12 months is recommended for people at risk of liver cancer.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 29, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology