Studies have found the following risk factors for liver cancer:
Infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV):Liver cancer can develop after many years of infection with either of these viruses. Around the world, infection with HBV or HCV is the main cause of liver cancer. HBV and HCV can be passed from person to person through blood (such as by sharing needles) or sexual contact. An infant may catch these viruses from an infected mother. Although HBV and HCV infections are contagious diseases, liver cancer is not. You can't catch liver cancer from another person.
Heavy alcohol use:Having more than two drinks of alcohol each day for many years increases the risk of liver cancer and certain other cancers. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol that a person drinks.
Aflatoxin: Liver cancer can be caused by aflatoxin, a harmful substance made by certain types of mold. Aflatoxin can form on peanuts, corn, and other nuts and grains. In parts of Asia and Africa, levels of aflatoxin are high.
Iron storage disease:Liver cancer may develop among people with a disease that causes the body to store too much iron in the liver and other organs.
Cirrhosis:Cirrhosis is a serious disease that develops when liver cells are damaged and replaced with scar tissue. Many exposures cause cirrhosis, including HBV or HCV infection, heavy alcohol use, too much iron stored in the liver, certain drugs, and certain parasites.
Obesity and diabetes: Studies have shown that obesity and diabetes may be important risk factors for liver cancer.The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that liver cancer will develop.