Fatty liver disease, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is a risk factor for liver cancer. Fatty liver disease can progress to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a more serious type of fatty liver disease that causes inflammation and damage to the liver and can lead to cancer.
According to a 2019 study,
This article will explain what fatty liver cancer is, along with fatty liver disease, its symptoms, causes, treatment, and outlook.
Fatty liver cancer is not a type of cancer. Instead, it is a term doctors give to a type of cancer that fatty liver disease can cause.
Fatty liver cancer
Liver disease is the leading cause of HCC. People with fatty liver disease may develop cirrhosis. The chronic inflammation of cirrhosis can then lead to cancer.
Learn more about hepatocellular carcinoma here.
Fatty liver disease is a group of conditions that
Obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes increase the risk of NAFLD. The lifestyle factors that correlate with these diseases, such as a sedentary lifestyle and a high fat diet, also increase the risk of NAFLD.
NAFLD can progress to the more serious diagnosis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH
Learn about the similarities and differences between NAFL, NAFLD, and NASH.
Fatty liver disease does not
People with NASH may not have symptoms either. When they do, they may notice the following:
- pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen
- acanthosis nigricans, a type of skin darkening around the neck and joints
- loss of muscle
- ascites, a swollen abdomen from liver disease
- jaundice that may turn the eyes or skin yellowish
A person may also consider monitoring for fatty liver if they have risk factors such as:
Learn more about fatty liver disease.
Fatty liver is often
- develop jaundice, which may cause the eyes or skin to look yellow
- feel pain in their upper right abdomen.
- have low energy or fatigue or frequently feel sick.
Learn more about the symptoms of liver disease.
NAFLD develops when fat accumulates in the liver. Over time, this fat can damage the liver. The main risk factors for this fat accumulation
- dyslipidemia, which means high quantities of fat in the blood
- metabolic syndrome
- insulin resistance
A sedentary lifestyle, high fat diet, and processed fatty foods are significant risk factors for NAFLD. These lifestyle factors can also contribute to obesity, which can also lead to NAFLD.
Learn more about a diet for fatty liver.
A doctor will likely recommend that a person exercise more and introduce lower-fat foods into their diet. Treatment for other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, is also important. A person might need blood pressure or cholesterol medication, as well as treatment for diabetes.
Doctors and healthcare professionals recommend that people with NASH have regular ultrasounds to test for liver cancer.
The treatment for HCC
- surgical removal of the tumor
- liver transplant
- radiofrequency ablation to remove tumors in early stages
Learn more about the best medication for fatty liver disease.
The outlook is worse at each stage of liver disease. People with NAFLD have a
The overall 5-year survival rate for a person with HCC is
Learn about the stages of cirrhosis and life expectancy.
Although family history and genetics
- eating a nutritious, balanced diet
- avoiding very high fat foods
- remaining physically active
- taking proactive steps to manage any health conditions a person has
Learn more about foods that can protect the liver.
Fatty liver includes NAFLD and NASH. Lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of both conditions, sometimes reverse the conditions, and also reduce the risk of liver cancer.
Liver disease, including NAFLD, is the leading risk factor for liver cancer. Preventing liver disease can significantly reduce a person’s risk of liver cancer. In people already at high risk, ongoing monitoring can detect the cancer in its early stages.
People at risk of liver disease and liver cancer should discuss treatment and management options with a doctor.