Saturday, August 29, 2009



Hepatitis C, Liver Cancer, and Obesity

This article concerns the UK, but it wouldn't be surprising if some of these statistics are paralleled here in the U.S. In the UK, liver cancer cases have tripled in the last 30 years.

Why the rise? There are a variety of reasons including greater life expectancy (let's face it, the longer you live the more likely it is that you'll develop any one of a number of conditions--sort of goes along with the "living longer" territory) and better detection methods. However, a good part of the answer seems to be excessive alcohol use, hepatitic c infections, and obesity.

The hepatitis c part I wasn't surprised by, though it was shocking to learn that of the quarter million individuals in the UK that have been infected with hep c, about eighty percent are unaware that they have the illness.

What I found surprising was the role that obesity plays in liver cancer. Apparently, it plays a fairly big one (mind you, I was a disability examiner for disability determination services and that involved reading medical records and evaluating them to determine one's eligibility for disability benefits; however, I am not in any way, shape, or form a medical professional with medical training).

I'd be very interested to learn if the information presented in this article is mirrored here in the U.S. Also, I wonder if liver cancer is rising as fast here. I'm not really "up" on incidence rates for hepatitis c. However, the condition is frequently marked as an allegation on disability application reports. And obesity is a chronic problem here.



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