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Cirrhosis is a disease that develops when liver cells are damaged and replaced with scar tissue. Cirrhosis may be caused by alcohol abuse, certain drugs and other chemicals, and certain viruses or parasites. About 5 percent of people with cirrhosis develop liver cancer.
Eating Foods Tainted With Aflatoxin
The risk for liver cancer can be increased through long-term exposure to aflatoxin, a harmful substance made by certain types of mold. Aflatoxin can form on peanuts, corn, and other nuts and grains. In Asia and Africa, aflatoxin contamination is a serious problem. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not allow the sale of foods that have high levels of aflatoxin.
Although no one knows why, men are twice as likely as women to get liver cancer.
Having a Family History of Liver Cancer
People who have family members with liver cancer may be more likely to get liver cancer themselves.
In the United States, liver cancer occurs more often in people over age 60 than in younger people.
Most people who have known liver cancer risk factors do not get liver cancer. On the other hand, many who do get the disease have none of these liver cancer risk factors. Liver cancer research scientists do not know the exact liver cancer cause, but they continue to search for it.
People who think they may be at risk for liver cancer should discuss this concern with their doctor. The doctor may suggest ways to reduce the risk and can plan an appropriate schedule for checkups.