Liver Cancer: A Global Epidemic

A worldwide view of liver cancer incidence.

Liver cancer, specifically hepatocellular carcinoma, has become a significant problem worldwide. Although fewer than 20,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with HCC and other rarer forms of liver cancer in 2007, up to 700,000 liver cancer cases will occur around the world, most of which are the result of chronic hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C.

Cases of Chronic Hepatitis C

Worldwide: 169.7 million

North and South America: 13.1 million 

Europe: 8.9 million

Eastern Mediterranean: 21.3 million

Africa: 31.9 million

Southeast Asia: 32.3 million

Western Pacific: 62.2 million

Frequency of Chronic Hepatitis B

Worldwide: 350 to 400 million

Low (less than 2 percent of the population): North America, Northern and Western Europe, Australia

Intermediate (2 to 7 percent of the population): Southern and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, South Central and Southwest Asia, the Russian Federation and most of Central and South America

High (8 to 20 percent of the population): Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, Eastern Mediterranean countries, South and Western Pacific Islands, certain parts of the Caribbean and the Amazon Basin

SOURCE: National Cancer Institute and International Agency for Research on Cancer’s GLOBOCAN 2002 (HCC incidence data); World Health Organization; Richard E.T. Smith, “Hepatitis C virus therapies,” Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, September 2006.

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