Liver cancer death rate spikes 43 percent: 6 things to know

Death rates attributed to liver cancer have increased by 43 percent among American adults between 2003 to 2016, according to a report released by the CDC.

Here are six things to know:

1. In both men and women age 25 and older, deaths attributed to liver cancer increased.

2. Men are two to two-and-a-half times more likely than women to die of liver cancer.

3. White adults have the lowest liver cancer death rate, while the only race and ethnicity mortality rate shown to decrease were Asian and Pacific Islanders possibly due to liver cancer being higher within these populations.

4. In 2016, Washington, D.C., had the highest liver cancer death rate in the U.S., with 10.8 more people per 100,000 dying from liver cancer there than in Vermont, which had the lowest liver cancer death rate.

5. The author of the report, Jiaquan Xu, MD, suggests the rise in mortality does not mean liver cancer is deadlier than before. Instead, he said it implies more people are developing liver cancer.

6. Roughly 70 percent of liver cancers are symptomatic of underlying liver disease, including obesity, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, hepatitis B and C infections, according to Farhad Islami, MD, PhD, scientific director of cancer surveillance research at the American Cancer Society.

"I think the main reason for the increase in liver cancer incidence and death rate in the U.S. is the increase in the prevalence of excess body weight and hepatitis C virus infection in baby boomers," Dr. Islami told CNN.

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