The liver is one of the largest organs in the body. It filters harmful substances from the blood, produces bile that helps in the digestion of fats, and stores sugar that the body uses for energy. There are two types of primary liver cancer in adults – hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of adult primary liver cancer. It is relatively rare in the United States, although its incidence is rising, principally in relation to the spread of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
The National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program estimates that 42,030 new cases of liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and some 31,780 people are expected to die of primary adult liver cancer in 2019. The 5-year-survival rate is just 18.4 percent.
Having hepatitis or cirrhosis are significant risk factors for adult primary liver cancer. Learn about childhood liver cancer here.
Source: National Cancer Institute