Epidemiology

Primary liver cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is uncommon in the Western world but is prevalent in areas where hepatitis B is endemic. In the UK, HCC is most commonly associated with cirrhosis secondary to alcohol-induced liver injury or haemochromatosis. The majority of cases present under the age of 50 years and males are affected more frequently than females. In the UK, chronic hepatitis B does account for a small proportion of cases but hepatitis C infection is becoming an increasing cause. Tumours may also be found incidentally at the time of post-mortem examination in patients with cirrhosis.

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