Hepatitis B and C: Risk of Liver Cancer - Topic Overview
People who are infected with
hepatitis B virus (HBV) or
hepatitis C (HCV) virus may develop a chronic
infection that can lead to
cirrhosis. The damage that results increases the risk
of liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma).
The risk of livercancer
may be as high as 200 times greater for people who have
chronic HBV or HCV infection than for the general population.1
If you have chronic HBV infection:
You may develop liver cancer even if you do not
have cirrhosis. But most people who have HBV and liver cancer also have
Receiving antiviral therapy to treat chronic HBV
infection may lower your risk for developing liver cancer.
If you have chronic HCV infection:
The strain (genotype) of HCV infection does not
appear to affect your risk for developing liver cancer.
You are not
at significant risk of developing cancer unless you also already have
You are at greatly increased risk of liver cancer if you
have alcohol-related cirrhosis in addition to hepatitis.
antiviral therapy to treat chronic HCV infection may lower your risk for
developing liver cancer.2
ultrasound of the liver, liver function tests, and
blood tests (including alpha-fetoprotein [AFP]) every 6 to 12 months is
recommended for people at risk of liver cancer.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
November 11, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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