Lifestyle modifications and vitamins and minerals may help lower the risk of developing liver cancer, a new study says.
The study, published in The Lancet, is the first to examine whether dietary changes are more effective at reducing the risk than smoking or other types of lifestyle-related cancer.
The authors say the findings show that lifestyle changes are important but not sufficient.
“The findings of this study provide further support for a lifestyle-based approach to prevention of liver disease,” the authors write.
The findings suggest that people who are at high risk of cancer may need to change their lifestyle to lower their risk, and also help them maintain their health, they write.
“It is not a simple task.
There are a lot of factors that contribute to liver cancer risk, such as diet, smoking, alcohol and medications,” said study lead author Dr. Matthew McManus, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Medicine in Ann Arbor.
“But we also know that lifestyle- and environmental-related risk factors can be changed.
The evidence suggests that there are some lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk and keep people healthy.”
The authors of the study, based on data from the National Cancer Institute, tracked more than 4 million people over 30 years.
The researchers analyzed more than 14 million cases of liver cancers in the United States and found that about 7% of cases had a genetic mutation that affected how genes were expressed in the liver.
The researchers said there are many possible reasons for this genetic mutation.
Some may be caused by diet, such with excess sugar, or toxins.
Others may be a result of the liver being too small to express the liver-specific genes that protect against cancer.
Other possible risk factors include smoking, diet, stress and physical inactivity.
People with the genetic mutation are at higher risk of cancers of the pancreas, the large intestine and other organs.
People with the mutation are also at greater risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers of other organs, such a colon, the authors wrote.
People who are predisposed to the genetic mutations are at a greater risk, the study found.
“Some people are prediagnosed for this mutation and others are not,” said Dr. James E. Rabinowitz, an assistant professor at Columbia University School of Public Health in New York City and co-author of the article.
“So if you are predoagnosed, you should be tested.”
For some people, the risk may not be that great because of a combination of other risk factors, such smoking, and their genetic makeup, he said.
“If you have a genetic predisposition to these liver cancers, the best thing you can do is do your best to reduce your risk,” Rabinowicz said.
Researchers found that people with the highest risk were older people, those who had been in the workforce for longer than five years, people with diabetes, people who had high blood pressure, and people who were obese.
About 1.5 million people died from liver cancer in the U.S. in 2013.
The study was conducted in more than 150 countries, including Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institutes on Aging, National Cancer Program, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and National Institutes for Health (grants R01 HL072619, P30 HL066358, and R01 AI051891).
Source: The Washington Post