Researchers found that the increased rates of liver cancer-related mortality in the United States were significantly linked to individuals with less education, especially among men.
“There are substantial differences in the burden of liver cancer among populations, with the incidence and death rates higher in men than women, in minority racial groups than whites, and in persons with a lower socioeconomic status (SES) than persons with a higher SES,” Jiemin Ma, PhD, MHS, from the American Cancer Society, and colleagues wrote in their study published in Cancer. “Understanding contemporary temporal trends in liver cancer rates by individual-level SES is important for advocacy and public health policy to curb the growing burden of this disease.”
Between 2000 and 2015, overall liver cancer mortality rates per 100,000 persons increased by 48.6% in men and by 172.2% in HCV-related cases compared with 33.3% in HCV-unrelated disease. Among HCV-related cases, mortality rates increased by 210.3% among men with 12 years or less of education compared with 39.9% in those with 16 years or more of education. Similarly, in HCV-unrelated liver cancer, mortality rates were confined to the two groups with lower education attainment.
Among women during the same period, overall liver cancer mortality rates increased by 34.7%. While the mortality rates increased more quickly for HCV-related liver cancers and in women with less than 16 years of education, mortality rates from HCV-unrelated liver cancer was comparable in women with 16 years or more of education and those with fewer years of education after 2006.
Multivariate analysis showed that the risk for liver cancer-related mortality was significantly higher in men than women (RR = 2.944; 95% CI, 2.874-3.015), older age groups (RR = 8.031; 95% CI, 7.946-8.121), and in individuals with less education compared with those with more education (RR = 2.217; 95% CI, 2.149-2.286). These correlations remained significant regardless of HCV-related or unrelated etiology.
“These findings underscore the need for enhanced and targeted efforts in promoting bodyweight control and diabetes prevention, reducing excessive alcohol consumption, and improving HCV testing and treatment of HCV infections and early liver disease to reverse the increasing trends in liver cancer mortality and the widening socioeconomic disparities in the country,” Ma and colleagues concluded. – by Talitha Bennett
Disclosure: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.