Liver cancer statistics

Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world, with 782,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012.

Hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses are causes of liver cancer. The former appears to act directly by damaging cells and their DNA. The latter shows an indirect effect, mediated by cirrhosis.

The Continuous Update Project Panel made the following judgements; there is convincing evidence that greater body fatness, consumption of alcoholic drinks, and higher exposure to aflatoxins and consumption of aflatoxin-contaminated foods are causes of liver cancer. Consumption of coffee probably protects against this cancer.

Preventability estimates using the new findings from the Continuous Update Project show that about 30% of cases of liver cancer in the US can be prevented by not drinking alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight.

The countries with the top 20 highest incidence of liver cancer in 2012 are given in the tables below.

Both sexes

  • Mongolia has the highest rate of liver cancer, followed by Lao PDR and The Gambia.
  • About 83 per cent of liver cancer cases occurred in less developed countries.
  • The highest incidence of liver cancer was in Asia and Africa; and the lowest incidence in Europe and, Latin America and Caribbean.
Rank Country Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
1 Mongolia 78.1
2 Lao PDR 52.6
3 The Gambia 25.8
4 Egypt 25.6
5 Viet Nam 24.6
6 Korea, Republic of 22.8
7 Thailand 22.3
7 China 22.3
9 Cambodia 22.0
10 Guinea 19.5
11 Sierra Leone 18.2
12 Liberia 17.9
13 Cote d Ivoire 17.0
14 Korea, Democratic People's Republic of 16.2
15 Guatemala 16.0
16 Vanuatu 15.1
17 Burkina Faso 14.4
18 Benin 13.5
19 Mauritania 13.4
19 Guinea-Bissau 13.4

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.

Men

  • Mongolia had the highest rate of liver cancer in 2012, followed by Lao PDR and Viet Nam.
  • About 83 per cent of liver cancer cases occurred in less developed countries.
  • The highest incidence of liver cancer was in Asia and Africa; and the lowest incidence in Latin America and Caribbean, and Europe.
Rank Country Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
1 Mongolia 97.8
2 Lao PDR 78.7
3 Viet Nam 40.2
4 Egypt 38.1
5 Korea, Republic of 36.7
6 The Gambia 36.3
7 Thailand 34.8
8 China 33.7
9 Cambodia 32.7
10 Korea, Democratic People's Republic of 25.8
11 Guinea 25.3
12 Liberia 24.0
13 Sierra Leone 23.8
14 Vanuatu 23.6
15 Cote d Ivoire 22.6
16 Benin 19.2
17 Mauritania 18.9
18 Rwanda 18.6
18 Cape Verde 18.6
18 Swaziland 18.6

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.

Women

  • Mongolia had the highest rate of liver cancer in 2012, followed by Lao PDR and Guatemala.
  • About 81 per cent of liver cancer cases occurred in less developed countries.
  • The highest incidence of liver cancer was in Asia and Africa; and the lowest incidence in Europe and Northern America.
Rank Country Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
1 Mongolia 61.1
2 Lao PDR 29.7
3 Guatemala 16.0
4 The Gambia 15.3
5 Guinea 14.4
6 Cambodia 14.2
7 Egypt 14.1
8 Sierra Leone 12.7
9 Liberia 12.5
10 Thailand 11.3
11 Honduras 11.2
12 Viet Nam 10.9
12 China 10.9
12 Burkino Faso 10.9
15 Cote d Ivoire 10.7
16 Korea, Republic of 10.5
17 Nicaragua 9.4
17 Togo 9.4
19 Benin 8.9
20 Cape Verde 8.8

Source: Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.1, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed on 16/01/2015.