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Liver Cancer : Causes
Western Medicine Chinese Medicine

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Infection with the hepatitis B virus is the major cause of liver cancer. Worldwide, eighty percent of cases occur in people who carry the hepatitis B virus. People with chronic hepatitis-B virus infection, or who have a condition known as being a hepatitis B carrier, have a 12 to 300 times higher risk of developing primary liver cancer (according to different studies) than people who do not carry the hepatitis B virus.
Hepatitis B is a virus passed by the exchange of blood, blood products or bodily fluids between humans. It is usually passed through blood transfusions, sexual intercourse and from mother to child during pregnancy and birth.
In East Asia where hepatitis B infection rates are very high, the most common route of transmission is from mother to child. This means many people have hepatitis B from birth, an important factor in developing liver cancer. It is the slow damage caused by chronic hepatitis B infection that leads the liver cells to change into cancer cells.
In Western countries, where hepatitis B infection rates are much lower, most cases are due to hepatitis C infection, a virus also passed by exchange of blood, blood products or bodily fluids.
The other major cause of liver cancer in western countries is the liver damage caused by chronic alcohol abuse to liver cells known as alcoholic cirrhosis.
In TCM, the causes of liver cancer can be divided into inherited factors and environmental factors.

1. Inherited factors:
Some individuals develop liver cancer because they have inherited susceptible genes from their parents.

2. Environmental factors:
These include:
Diet: Over-consumption of alcohol and eating improperly cleaned food can upset the digestive health, which is known as spleen disharmony.
Lifestyle: Over-exhaustion can lead to body disharmony.
Living: Environment such as a wet climate

Both inherited and environmental factors may result in spleen deficiency, stagnation of qi and the accumulation of dampness, which can progress to liver cancer. These terms are further explained in the symptom sections.

Click here to see how liver cancer forms from a TCM perspecture