While the thought of cancer is a scary one, ignoring the risk is hazardous to your health! Best to take the wise advice of applying an ounce of prevention as liver cancer is preventable says Dr. Xu, one of the study authors of this latest health concern.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raised the red flag on liver cancer in their July 2018 published review. Their report shows an alarming increase in liver cancer mortality from 2000 to 2016. Men had a 43% increase, women 40%. For men, their risk still remains higher as statistically their overall numbers are 2 to 2.5 times that of women.
But this drastic increase is not due to prognosis as the 10-year survival rate has not changed. The older group may have been exposed to hepatitis C due to the lack of screening in blood banks prior to 1992. Hepatitis C damages and scars the liver over a period of time, putting that age group at a higher risk for mortality in this report. About 70% of liver cancer is caused by underlying liver disease. Besides hepatitis, the American Cancer Society also cites prolonged alcohol use, obesity, adult-onset type 2 diabetes and tobacco use as factors that affect liver health. These factors are influenced by lifestyle, so improving or changing them is up to you. The good news is the liver is the most regenerative, forgiving organ you have. So today is a good day to start treating it with respect.
And while keeping your liver healthy is a goal to lower your risk of cancer or other liver diseases, there are many other health reasons, as well. Your body relies on your liver for energy and repair but it’s your major detox organ. Here’s a few specific items on the liver’s “to do” list:
- produces bile for digestion
- filters & neutralizes harmful toxins
- eliminates excess cholesterol, hormones & drugs
- breaks down carbohydrates, fats, & proteins for energy & brain function
- activates enzymes essential for body metabolism
- stores glycogen for energy needs
- stores minerals & vitamins A, D, E, K for body maintenance
- synthesizes clotting factors for healing
Your liver deserves a lot of thanks in keeping your body functioning and healthy so show some gratitude right back. Avoiding what can damage it is the first step.
Think your liver might need some help getting healthier? You can also support your liver with alpha lipoic acid (ALA). And while we cannot claim that taking ALA will prevent cancer, having a healthy liver may reduce your risk, given than 70% of liver cancer is caused by liver disease.
How does ALA help? ALA is an amazing supplement with extensive research on its role in improving liver function in two ways. 1) ALA helps your body break down (metabolize) fats and sugar and 2) assists in the body’s detoxification of harmful substances. Both actions decrease the amount of “work” the liver performs and also reduces your risk of developing heart disease, adult onset diabetes and obesity, three risk factors of cancer as well. ALA’s is an antioxidant so it helps protect the liver from oxidative stress and free radicals too, which also improves its function. For most people, 100 mg a day is a good start. If you already have some of the risk factors the American Cancer Society names, you may want to take more in a divided dose with meals. You’ll find research doses and suggestions in the Health Library articles. Or ask as we’re happy to help!
Read more about the many benefits of ALA for your liver in the TyH Health Library!