Cancer Council Australia

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In 2008 there were 1304 cases of liver cancer cases diagnosed in Australia and in 2007 (the most recent mortality data) there were 1109 deaths.

Although not as common in Australia as cancers of the pancreas, kidney, blood and lymphatic systems, liver cancer features here because it is more preventable than those cancers. Around half of all cases are caused by hepatitis B infection, which can be prevented through immunisation. Monitoring of patients with hepatitis and antiviral drugs can also reduce the risk of infection developing into cancer.

Hepatitis infection at a young age increases the risk of the virus developing into cancer; liver cancer is therefore significantly more prevalent among people from developing countries and Indigenous people, who have higher rates of hepatitis in childhood.

Detailed policy information on hepatitis B and liver cancer is available in the liver cancer chapter of our National Cancer Prevention Policy. For information, including for health professionals, on hepatitis infection for high-risk groups, visit Cancer Council NSW?s B Positive Project site.

In addition, evidence shows that alcohol consumption is a probable cause of liver cancer, estimated to be associated with up to 17% of cases in Australia. For policy information on reducing the risk of alcohol-related cancer in Australia, including liver cancer, see the alcohol and cancer chapter of our National Cancer Prevention Policy.

Sources: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality Books, 2012, Union for International Cancer Control, evidence sheets on HBV and cancer, Cancer Council NSW, B Positive Project.

This page was last updated on: Wednesday, November 1, 2017

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