HOUSTON (KIAH) – October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s especially important here in Texas.

In 2015, Texas had the highest incidence rate and fourth highest mortality rate of all U.S. states. And according to the Texas Health and Human Services, liver cancer has low survival compared to other cancers.

  • 26% of Texans diagnosed with localized liver cancer survive for five years
  • 11% of Texans diagnosed with regional liver cancer survive for five years
  • 4% of Texans diagnosed with distant liver cancer survive for five years

Doctor Sumeet Asrani, with Baylor Scott and White, treats patients with liver cancer. He says historically heavy drinkers and those with hepatitis C were the highest risk groups for liver disease.

But now, he says they’re seeing a new high-risk group develop.

“Often what these patients have is fatty liver. And so, fatty liver in some patients can end up leading to a damaged liver, which over 20, 30 years can become hard. And eventually in that hard liver, patients can get liver cancer,” said Dr. Asrani.

He noted three things people can do to reduce their risk are:

  • Screening for hepatitis C
  • Reducing their alcohol consumption
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

The Texas Health and Human Services Department lists additional other risk factors, including:

  • Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV)
  • Obesity
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Diabetes