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Tag Archives: liver cancer

Deadliest Cuts of All

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Just 8 cancers (ovary, myeloma, brain, stomach, esophagus, lung, liver, and pancreas) will cause nearly half of all cancer deaths in 2014.

Joining a deadly cancers “club” is not on anyone’s wish list. Yet Liver Cancer Connect, a dedicated program of the Hepatitis B Foundation, welcomed the opportunity to become a member of the Deadliest Cancers Coalition.

The Coalition was established in 2008 by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and other patient advocacy organizations and professional societies.

The group addresses policy issues related to the nation’s deadliest (recalcitrant) cancers. These are defined as the cancers that have 5-year relative survival rates below 50%.

While various types of cancers fit this definition, it is worth noting that nearly half of the 585,720 cancer deaths expected in 2014 will be caused by eight deadly cancers: ovary, myeloma, brain, stomach, esophagus, lung, liver, and pancreas.

Over the past 40 years, the overall 5-year relative survival rate for all cancers has increased from about 50% to 68%. This encouraging progress was mainly thanks to significant federal funding, through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – the world’s premier supporter of biomedical research – and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Those federal funds have been matched by investments from pharmaceutical companies, nongovernmental organizations, and states.

But some cancers have not even reached the 50% survival benchmark, let alone surpassed it. To improve survival and outcomes for people with these deadliest cancers, Congress passed the landmark 2012 Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act.  The law calls on NCI, which is a part of NIH, to develop scientific frameworks to help improve outcomes for people who have cancers with very low survival rates.

Unfortunately, continued budget cuts have led to a 23 percent reduction in NIH’s capacity to fund much-needed medical research, including research that can improve survival rates. And the squabbling over future budgets continues.

To stop further funding cuts, the members of the Deadliest Cancers Coalition are rallying their grassroots organizations to contact congressional representatives and urge them to safeguard federal funding for NIH, including NCI.

That some cancers have survival rates below 50% is deeply troubling. But the funding cuts that threaten cancer research are even more disturbing. In fact, they’re deadly.

The World’s Second Deadliest Cancer Is …Preventable

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Liver cancer is the world’s second leading cause of cancer deaths, according to the latest World Cancer Report 2014 released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO). About 800,000 deaths per year are related to liver cancer. Continue reading "The World’s Second Deadliest Cancer Is …Preventable"

Fighting FHC: A Family’s Battle Against a Rare Liver Cancer

In recognition of Rare Diseases Day today, Liver Cancer Connect is honored to feature an article by guest blogger, Gail Trecosta. Gail’s son is fighting a rare form of liver cancer.

MatthewWe’ve all heard or seen heartbreaking stories of children with cancer. Ours began in October 2012. Our world turned upside down when our 13-year-old son was diagnosed with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma (FHC).

Continue reading "Fighting FHC: A Family’s Battle Against a Rare Liver Cancer"

Coffee Consumption Reduces Risk of Liver Cancer

“Our research confirms past claims that coffee is good for your health, and particularly the liver,” said Carlo La Vecchia, MD. (Credit: © volff / Fotolia)

Coffee consumption reduces risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer, by about 40 percent, according to an up-to-date meta-analysis published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. Further, some data indicate that three cups of coffee per day reduce liver cancer risk by more than 50 percent.

Read more. 

Posted in Science Daily, October 22, 2013

Living With HBV and Drinking Coffee

The pros and cons of drinking coffee have been wildly debated for years.  However, for those with Hepatitis B and other liver diseases, the addition of a couple of cups of coffee per day to slow down the progression of liver disease, along with decreasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease just makes sense.

Dr. Melissa Palmer was a guest speaker at a previous Hepatitis B Foundation patient conference. The information from her presentation had all sorts of nutritional nuggets for those with HBV (Check out Dr. Palmer on podcast if you would like to have a listen!) She stated, based on studies, that coffee and caffeine intake has been associated with improvements in liver ALT and AST levels.  There also seems to be a correlation between increased coffee consumption and warding off cirrhosis and HCC.

Just recently there are was an article that discussed the benefits of coffee for those patients with HCV, undergoing treatment with pegylated interferon (PEG) and ribavirin therapy.  It claimed that drinking three or more cups of coffee a day not only reduced some of the difficult side-effects associated with treatment of PEG, but it also increased the treatment success.  However, like so many of these coffee studies, it was a small study and had to be adjusted for other factors.

We all know that HBV and HCV are very different viral infections, but you have to wonder if any of the benefits of coffee that is seen in those being treated for HCV can be extrapolated to include those with HBV being treated with Pegylated interferon or antivirals.  Dr. Palmer did mention that coffee did seem to have a greater impact on those with hepatitis C, although I have no idea why.

Regardless, if you’re living with HBV, you have to think about the pros and cons of adding coffee to your daily list.  Since all studies seem to show an increased number of cups of coffee having a more positive impact on preventing liver disease progression, or warding off cirrhosis or potentially reducing PEG side effects or benefiting treatment, you have to consider just how much caffeine you can take.  It does not appear that caffeine is the only factor involved, but rather the coffee bean itself and associated antioxidant features.  This seems to be the case because tea, despite all of its benefits, does not appear to have the same protective effect on the liver.

What about decaffeinated coffee?  I kept looking to see if it was specifically referenced, but I haven’t seen it. However, during the decaffeinating process, much of the bean is lost, and it may be treated with a chemical solvent, both which might nix the positive benefits.  If you’re going to give decaffeinated coffee a try, consider a coffee with a more natural decaffeinating process. Personally, I’d have a tough time balancing the jitters and racing heart rate associated with drinking more than a cup or two of high-test coffee a day, but we’re all individuals.  If you can drink coffee and sleep well at night, it seems like it can’t hurt your liver health to add a few cups to your daily regimen.