Liver Cancer Caused By High Sugar – Do These 3 Things to Prevent It
Did I read that right … liver cancer?
What the heck does that have to do with high blood sugar?
When it comes to possible complications associated with having high blood sugar, even if you asked diabetes care professionals, I bet you 95% won’t mention liver cancer. You’ll hear about potential havoc with the eyes, the heart, kidneys and blood vessels (and therefore risk of strokes or circulation problems with the legs increasing risk for loss of limb).
But the liver? It gets no respect.
It wasn’t until 2019 that the American Diabetes Association included the standard to screen for a buildup of fat in the liver not caused by alcohol consumption (called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) and liver fibrosis (think scarred liver) for all individuals with:
Fibrosis is the first stage of liver scarring. You know what a scar is like – damaged tissue that’s still held together. Now imaging more scars building up in the liver. That’s called liver cirrhosis.
The most common cause of liver fibrosis is not alcoholic liver disease (that gets second place). First place goes to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD can lead to more liver injury and inflammation. It is possible to stop the progression and even reverse a bit of the damage if caught before the liver reaches cirrhosis.
Of all people with liver cirrhosis, 3% will get liver cancer every year. Liver cancer is the fastest-rising incidence of any cancer type in the United States which also carries the among the lowest 5-year survival rate amongst any type of cancer. It might seem like 3% is a small number. But once the cirrhosis is advanced, life expectancy can be less than 2 years. Much can be done to prevent this “silent killer” early on.
What Can You Do?
Learn about risks, early detection and treatment, and self-care you can start doing today.
1. Know your risks and symptoms. What are the risks of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?
Symptoms often none in the early stages. The late stages of liver disease may include:
2. Take ownership of making sure you get the needed screening tests and care. Your healthcare provider may need a little nudge on this. So ask about:
3. Self-care you can start today. Review these areas and pick one you to do:
October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month.
The goal is to catch the process early. Once the liver is damaged with scars (fibrosis), it can’t be reversed. The only treatment is to receive a liver transplant. And besides the long list of people on the wait list to get one, it’s best to avoid being in that line completely.
So show your liver a little love by taking care of it. No one else will do it for you!