The connection between hepatitis C and liver cancer.

Legacy doctor showing patient paperwork on liver cancer

What you need to know

Anyone can get liver cancer, although it is seen more often in men than women. Liver cancer can be aggressive, but patients often have few or no symptoms or signs in the early stages.

Having hepatitis or cirrhosis can increase your risk of liver cancer. Among the signs and symptoms of liver cancer are a lump or pain on the right side.

Doctors may use tests that examine the liver and the blood to detect and diagnose liver cancer. If the cancer is detected early, doctors have a better chance of treating it.

Risk factors

Worldwide, chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are the most common risk factors for liver cancer. Other factors that can increase your risk for liver cancer include: 

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Cirrhosis
  • Diabetes
  • Exposure to certain chemicals
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Past or current IV drug abuse

Screening for hepatitis C

There is no screening for liver cancer, however testing for HCV is available.

Baby boomers: People born between 1945 and 1965 are five times more likely to be unknowingly infected with HCV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people born in these years get a one-time HCV blood test.

Insurance plans vary, so check to see if yours covers blood tests to screen for HCV.

Schedule your appointment

If you believe you are at risk for liver cancer or you were born between 1945-1965 and haven’t been tested for Hepatitis C, talk with your primary care physician about possible testing.