Although primary liver cancer is rare, its incidence rate has been rising quickly in Canada, more than tripling since the early 1980s. This cancer is more common in men than women, and the age-specific incidence rates in men have been increasing significantly in all age groups from 40 years of age onward. The death rate has followed a similar upward trajectory, in part because of the low 5-year survival rate of 18% in both sexes. Infection with the hepatitis B or C virus continues to be the most common risk factor, but other factors may also play a role. Risk reduction strategies, such as viral hepatitis screening, have been recommended in other countries and warrant consideration in Canada as part of a coordinated strategy of disease prevention and control.
Keywords: Liver cancer; prevention; risk factors; surveillance; trends.