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NH Environmental Public Health Tracking Program
Liver cancer

Liver Cancer and the Environment

Liver cancer is a disease in which cancer forms in the liver cells. Liver cancer is very rare in the United States (U.S.). Only 1.8% of new cancer cases every year are liver cancer. However, the percentage of Americans developing liver cancer has been rising slowly for several decades.

The liver plays an important role in removing harmful substances from our blood. This includes environmental contaminants we come into contact with during our lifetime. While the liver usually does a good job at removing those harmful substances, certain chemicals have been shown to damage the liver. For example, studies have shown that some people who drink water containing high levels of arsenic over many years could experience health effects including liver cancer.

Exposure and Risk

Certain people are at increased risk for liver cancer. Globally, 80% to 95% of all liver cancer cases are associated with hepatitis B or hepatitis C viruses.

People with the following risk factors or characteristics may be more likely than others to develop liver cancer:


You may be able to reduce your risk for many types of liver cancer by avoiding known risk factors for the disease, such as:

For more information on liver cancer:

Environmental Public Health Tracking Program
NH Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services
29 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301
Tel: (603) 271-4988 800-852-3345 ext.4988

copyright 2009. State of New Hampshire