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Significance

    Incidence and Mortality

    Hepatocellular cancer (HCC) is the fourth most common cancer in the world and the third leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide.[1] Age-standardized incidence rates are 2.1 per 100,000 population in North America.[2] In the United States, HCC incidence and mortality rates continue to increase, particularly among middle-aged black, Hispanic, and white men.[3]

    It is estimated that there will be 30,640 new cases diagnosed and 21,670 deaths due to this disease in the United States in 2013.[4] There is a distinct male preponderance among all ethnic groups in the United States, although this trend is most marked among Chinese Americans, in whom the annualized rate of HCC is 22.1 per 100,000 population among men and 8.4 per 100,000 population among women.[5]Table 1 summarizes the incidence of HCC by geographic region.[6]

    In the United States, chronic hepatitis B is the underlying cause of an estimated 2,000 to 4,000 deaths each year from cirrhosis and liver cancer; it is estimated that more than one million Americans have a chronic hepatitis B infection, many of whom do not know they are infected. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are among the most frequent viral infections in humans and represent a major global public health problem. HBV- and HCV-related chronic hepatitis are the main causes of cirrhosis and HCC, which are responsible for a high rate of morbidity and mortality. In the last few years, knowledge of the epidemiology and the natural history of HBV and HCV infections has markedly improved, and considerable progress has been made in the efficacy of therapy.

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