Liver Cancer: Prevention


Although many risk factors for liver cancer cannot be controlled (such as age, race and family history), there are some preventive steps you can take to improve your health and reduce your risk of liver cancer.

Get Vaccinated Against Hepatitis B

You can reduce your risk of hepatitis B by receiving the hepatitis B vaccine, which provides more than 90 percent protection for both adults and children. Protection lasts years and may even be lifelong. The vaccine can be given to almost anyone, including infants, older adults and those with compromised immune systems.

Liver Cancer Screening

Screening for liver cancer hasn't been definitively proved to reduce the risk of dying of liver cancer. For this reason, many medical groups don't recommend liver cancer screening. However, the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases recommends liver cancer screening for those thought to have a high risk, including people who have:

  • Hepatitis B and one or more of the following apply: are an Asian male older than 40, Asian female older than 50, or African and older than 20; have liver cirrhosis; or have a family history of liver cancer
  • Liver cirrhosis from alcohol use
  • Hepatitis C infection
  • An inherited form of hemochromatosis
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Discuss the pros and cons of screening with your doctor. Together you can decide whether screening is right for you based on your risk. Screening typically involves an ultrasound exam or blood tests once or twice each year.