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Liver cancer screening highly beneficial for people with cirrhosis
Date:5/5/2014

enter, paving the way for him to have a life-saving liver transplant at UT Southwestern in 2013.

"Without the screening, they wouldn't have discovered it," said Mr. Curiel who was eventually able to return to work installing hardwood floors. "I am living proof that this works."

Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. People with cirrhosis are at a higher risk for liver cancer, with 3 to 5 percent of those with cirrhosis developing liver cancer every year. The rate at which the incidence of liver cancer is increasing is one of the fastest among all solid tumors in the U.S.

Dr. Singal's findings, published in the Public Library of Science Medical Journal, are particularly significant for Texas because the state has high rates of fatty liver disease and Hepatitis C, both of which are correlated with cirrhosis. Texas also has the second highest incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma, or HCC, the most common type of liver cancer in the U.S. Many cases of HCC can be caught early with screening.

"We have a simple test, an abdominal ultrasound which is painless and easy, but we found that less than 20 percent of at-risk people have the test done, largely due to providers failing to order it," Dr. Singal said.

He said he hopes his study will encourage both patients and doctors to request the test.

Dr. Singal pointed out that liver cancer screening is not yet recommended by the United States Preventative Services Task Force, in part because a randomized study has not yet been done, which points to a conundrum in the field. When a randomized study was attempted in 2005, many patients opted out when they heard evidence that liver cancer screening could be so beneficial. None of the patients wanted to be the ones randomly chosen to not get the tests.

Dr. Singal hopes h
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Contact: Patrick McGee
patrick.mcgee@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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