Around 5,700 deaths from liver cancer have been recorded in the UK in 2017, increasing from 3,200 deaths in 2007, according to the latest figures released on Friday by Cancer Research UK.
Of all cancer types, liver cancer has had the largest increase in death rates between 2007 and 2017, and the most rapid rise in deaths since UK records began, the figures showed.Liver cancer is one of the hardest cancers to treat, and five-year survival can range from anywhere between six percent and 37 percent depending on age and gender, according to Cancer Research UK.
The disease is difficult to treat mainly because it can be hard to spot at an early stage as it often doesn't cause symptoms until it has progressed.
While there are several factors affecting liver cancer risk, being overweight or obese and smoking are two of the biggest preventable causes. Some 23 percent of liver cancer cases can be linked to being overweight or obese, and 20 percent can be linked to smoking. Overall, around half of cases are preventable, said Cancer Research UK.
Every year, around 5,900 people are diagnosed with liver cancer in the UK, and this number is projected to rise by 38 percent between 2014 and 2035, according to Cancer Research UK.
"A lot of progress has been made saving lives from cancer, but it's worrying to see deaths from liver cancer increasing at such an alarming rate. Far too many lives are being lost, which is why we're funding more research into this area. And aiming to understand more about the biology of the disease to develop better treatments," said Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK.