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Decrease Liver Cancer Risk with a Healthy Lifestyle

Cancer of the liver is not a cancer that we hear about as often as breast cancer, but liver cancer is one of the deadliest cancers.  Liver cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death worldwide.  The death rate of those with liver cancer is high because the cancer is often found in later stages when symptoms become present.

The World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research published the latest Continuous Update Project on Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Liver Cancer


Dietary Factors Increasing Risk

The report found strong evidence linking three factors as a cause of liver cancer – being overweight or obese, consuming three or more alcoholic beverages per day and consuming foods contaminated with aflatoxins (byproduct from Aspergillus fungus found in cereals and peanuts).


Coffee Decreases Liver Cancer Risk

Drinking coffee, with higher consumption appearing to be more beneficial, was strongly linked with decreasing risk of liver cancer.  Drinking coffee is also linked with decreasing risk of endometrial cancer.  The many antioxidants and phytochemicals in coffee, including chlorogenic acid, cafestol, kahweol, along with caffeine provide cancer-fighting benefits.  It is important to consider if coffee consumption is contributing to excess calorie intake and weight gain.

The research on consuming fish and engaging in daily physical activity suggests a benefit but further research is needed.

Other established causes of liver cancer include smoking, especially smoking in combination with a history of hepatitis infection and/or alcohol use because the combination further increases risk.  Cirrhosis, history of viral hepatitis infection and long-term use of oral contraceptives that contain high doses of estrogen and progesterone are additional causes of liver cancer.


Reduce Your Risk

Overall, the report suggest reducing your risk of liver cancer by striving for a healthy weight through eating a mostly plant-based diet and engaging in physical activity, and consuming no more than one alcoholic drink per day for women or two per day for men.

To find more continuous update reports from AICR, visit here: http://www.aicr.org/continuous-update-project/


[i] World Cancer Research Fund International/American Institute for Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Report: Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Liver Cancer. 2015. Available at: wcrf.org/sites/default/files/Liver-Cancer-2015-Report.pdf
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