A person may not be able to completely prevent liver cancer. However, they can take steps to help reduce their risk of developing it.

Liver cancer develops in the cells of a person’s liver. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that about 25,000 males and 11,000 females develop liver cancer every year in the United States.

At first, a person may not experience symptoms, but as liver cancer progresses, a person may experience symptoms such as nausea, swelling in the abdomen, and jaundice.

A person can take steps to help limit their risk of liver cancer. This article explores several ways a person may reduce their risk of developing liver cancer. It also discusses risk factors for liver cancer and when to contact a doctor.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections are known risk factors for developing liver cancer. A person can help reduce their risk of liver cancer by getting treatment for hepatitis infections.

In addition, a person can get themselves or their child vaccinated against hepatitis B. This may help reduce their risk of infection and liver cancer.

Other ways a person may help prevent hepatitis B and C infections include:

  • using barrier methods during sexual activity
  • not sharing needles, syringes, and medical equipment
  • not sharing items such as razors and toothbrushes

Learn more about hepatitis C transmission here.

A person may help reduce their risk of liver cancer by limiting their consumption of foods that may contain aflatoxin. This fungus can contaminate food, cooking oils, and cosmetics both during and after manufacturers harvest the ingredients.

Some foods that can become contaminated by aflatoxin include:

However, the American Cancer Society notes that many middle- to high-income countries have regulations to prevent and monitor food contamination. Therefore, people should speak with a doctor for further advice before making significant changes to their diet.

Certain conditions can increase a person’s risk of liver cancer. By treating any underlying conditions, a person may help reduce their risk of developing liver cancer.

Some infections and conditions that can increase the risk of liver cancer include:

People living with conditions that may affect the liver should speak with a healthcare professional for further information.

A person may help reduce their risk of developing liver cancer by making a few lifestyle modifications.

People may manage their weight by following a healthy diet and exercising regularly. These lifestyle changes may help people with obesity and excess weight reduce their risk of liver cancer. People with obesity are more likely to have other conditions that are linked to liver cancer, such as diabetes and fatty liver disease.

A person can also consider reducing the amount of alcohol they consume, as drinking alcohol can lead to cirrhosis. Similarly, people who smoke may consider quitting, as smoking can cause a number of cancers, including liver cancer.

People may wish to speak with a doctor for further advice about how to manage their weight, reduce their alcohol intake, and quit smoking.

There are risk factors associated with liver cancer that are outside of a person’s control. For example, about twice as many males as females develop liver cancer.

Furthermore, in the United States, people of certain races and ethnicities have a higher chance of developing liver cancer. The highest rates of liver cancer are among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, followed by Hispanic and Latin Americans.

To discover more evidence-based information and resources for cancer, visit our dedicated hub.

A person should consider speaking with a doctor if they develop unusual symptoms. Some potential signs of liver cancer include:

These symptoms are not specific to liver cancer — several conditions may also cause them. A doctor can help a person figure out the underlying cause of their symptoms.

A person may also want to speak with a healthcare professional about their risk factors for liver cancer. A doctor may be able to provide additional steps to help a person reduce their chances of developing liver cancer.

A person can take steps to reduce their risk of liver cancer. These include preventing and treating other conditions such as hepatitis, diabetes, and cirrhosis and making lifestyle modifications such as reducing alcohol consumption.

People should consider talking with a doctor if they are concerned they are at risk of developing liver cancer. A healthcare professional may be able to provide additional tips and a treatment plan to help a person reduce their risk of developing liver cancer.