(HealthDay News) — Liver cancer is a major cause of death in many countries, according to a study published in the Journal of Hepatology.

Harriet Rumgay, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, and colleagues used data from the GLOBOCAN 2020 database (185 countries) to calculate age-standardized rates (ASRs) for primary liver cancer cases and deaths.

In 2020, an estimated 905,700 people were diagnosed with liver cancer globally, and 830,200 people died from liver cancer. The ASR for new liver cancer cases was 9.5 per 100,000 people, and the ASR for liver cancer deaths was 8.7 per 100,000 people.

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ASRs for new cases and deaths from liver cancer (per 100,000 people) were highest in Eastern Asia (17.8 new cases; 16.1 deaths), Northern Africa (15.2 new cases; 14.5 deaths), and South-Eastern Asia (13.7 new cases; 13.2 deaths).

In 46 countries, liver cancer was among the top 3 causes of cancer death. In 90 countries, it was among the top 5 causes of cancer death. In all world regions, ASRs of both incidence and mortality were higher among men than women (male:female ASR ratio ranged from 1.2 to 3.6).

Between 2020 and 2040, the number of new cases of liver cancer per year is predicted to increase by 55.0%, with a possible 1.4 million people diagnosed in 2040 and 1.3 million people dying from liver cancer in 2040 (56.4% more than in 2020).

“Primary liver cancer due to some causes is preventable if control efforts are prioritized and the predicted rise in cases may increase the need for resources to manage care of patients with liver cancer,” the authors wrote.

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