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Liver cancer cases triple and booze is to blame
Cases of liver cancer have more than tripled in the past 30 years because of binge boozing.
Startling figures from Cancer Research UK show the number of patients rocketed from 865 in 1975 to 3,108 in 2006.
Experts say the rise in hard drinking is to blame as well as obesity and the blood infection Hepatitis C. All three can cause cirrhosis of the liver – and this can develop into liver cancer.
Dr Lesley Walker, of Cancer Research UK, said: “While this increase is a concern, it is important for people to under-stand how their risk can be reduced by changes to lifestyle. Cutting down on alcohol and watching your weight will help.”
Previously, cases of primary liver cancer – where the disease originates in the organ – were rare. But the worrying booze-binge culture and the easy availability of cheap drink is intensifying the problem.
Alcohol Concern chief Don Shenker warned: “We’re facing a crisis in terms of alcohol-related cancers and other health conditions because of cheap drink and a lack of health information to go with it. The UK needs to end cut-price alcohol.”
Hepatitis C is commonly spread by drug users but in the 1960s and 1980s people caught it from contaminated blood transfusions. It can take up to 40 years to develop liver cancer after contracting it.
3,202 Number of deaths in the UK caused by liver cancer in 2007.
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