Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), also known as primary liver cancer, is the fastest growing incident cancer in the U.S., and Texas leads the nation in mortality from this deadly disease.
Hispanics, especially in South Texas, are disproportionately affected, with rates more than double their white counterparts. Despite the availability of effective surveillance tools, curative treatment rates for HCC are often low due to late-stage diagnosis.
To address this important health issue, TMA’s Committee on Cancer has partnered with an expert panel of hepatologists and oncologists to form TexasHepCA, a TMA Foundation grant-funded physician consortium dedicated to promoting HCC education and prevention among primary care physicians and their patients.
Read more on HCC in the March 2016 issue of Texas Medicine magazine: Strengthening the Fight Against HCC.
Texas HepCA is offering free, in-person CME trainings across Texas. Contact TMA to request an HCC training in your area. Credit Designation is 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.
HCC By the Numbers
- HCC is the fastest growing incident cancer in the U.S, increasing at a rate of almost 2% per year.
- In Texas, the age-adjusted annual death rate for HCC is 6.7-9.4 per 100,000, compared with the U.S. average of 5.8-6.0 per 100,000.
- Hispanic males are twice as likely to develop this cancer as whites, while Hispanic females are three times more likely than whites.
- Worldwide, the five year survival rate for HCC is 12 percent at best.
- Low curative treatment rates for HCC are related to the high rates of late-stage diagnosis. Only 40 percent of patients are being diagnosed at an early stage, despite the availability of effective surveillance tools.
- When caught early, curative rates for HCC increase to anywhere between 57-73 percent, underscoring the importance of screening and early detection efforts.
What Physicians Can Do
- Understand the risk factors for HCC. These include cirrhosis from any cause, and risk often increases with male gender, age, and diabetes.
- Talk with your patients about their risk. Patients may not realize factors such as their weight, alcohol intake, and diabetes status can affect their likelihood of developing liver cancer.
- Initiative appropriate screenings. Perform surveillance every six months for patients with cirrhosis from any cause, and for patients with non-cirrhotic hepatitis B with high risk features for HCC.
- Learn more by taking TMA's FREE online CME course, developed by the TexasHepCA consortium, or email us to request a live talk.
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