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Liver cancer is a devastating and common cancer affecting people of from all walks of life all over the world. Though there are effective surgical and chemotherapeutic treatments available, because they are expensive and most cases of liver cancer occur in low-income countries, the best option for combating the disease is prevention of risk factors such as hepatitis B and C virus infections and infections by flatworms. Through additional study and development of preventative measures, the incidence of cancer will hopefully become a disease of the past.
Mortality rates are similar to incidence rates in nearly all countries with liver cancer cases. Prognosis is significantly influenced by when the cancer is detected. Early detection significantly improves prognosis since many of these patients are successfully treated. However, advanced stage HCC has a much bleaker prognosis. In the United States, less than 50% of people with liver cancer survive up to one year and 16% five years after diagnosis if left untreated.
Prognosis is also affected by other factors such as tumor stage at diagnosis, liver function, tumor size, number of lesions, vascular invasion and spread.