1. What are the risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma?
This cancer usually occurs in people who have chronic scarring of the liver, called cirrhosis. Most commonly, this is caused by chronic infection from one of two viruses: hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Alcohol abuse also increases the risk of developing cirrhosis. Some inherited diseases, especially a disorder called hemochromatosis (in which the body absorbs too much iron), can cause cirrhosis and, in time, hepatocellular carcinoma, as can non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
If you have chronic liver infection or damage and your AFP suddenly rises, or if it is very elevated, your doctor will usually ask for a study to look at your liver, such as an ultrasound exam, a CT scan, or an MRI scan. These scans can usually spot liver cancers if they are present. Your doctor may also order a blood test for des-gamma carboxy prothrombin (DCP) to help detect liver cancer.
This article was last reviewed on December 3, 2012. | This article was last modified on February 24, 2015.
The review date indicates when the article was last reviewed from beginning to end to ensure that it reflects the most current science. A review may not require any modifications to the article, so the two dates may not always agree.
The modified date indicates that one or more changes were made to the article. Such changes may or may not result from a full review of the article, so the two dates may not always agree.