There are no broadly recommended screening tests for liver cancer, but some risk factors have been identified, and you can reduce your risk.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), risk factors for liver cancer include:
Being a man. Liver cancer is nearly three times more common in men than in women.
Viral hepatitis. Chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) or the hepatitis C virus (HCV) raises the risk of liver cancer.
Cirrhosis. Most cases of cirrhosis develop over years of heavy drinking, as scar tissue builds up and causes increasing liver damage. Cirrhosis can also be caused by HBV, HCV or a disease called hemochromatosis, which causes iron to build up in the liver.
Tobacco. Smoking increases the risk of liver cancer, even in former smokers. However, the risk is lower for those who have quit than for current smokers.
Diabetes. Liver cancer is more common in people who have type 2 diabetes, especially if they also drink heavily or have hepatitis.
Obesity. Obesity can increase the risk for liver cancer by causing fatty liver disease and cirrhosis.
Steroids. Long-term use of muscle-building anabolic steroids can slightly increase the risk of liver cancer.
Race/ethnicity. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have the highest rates of liver cancer in the U.S., followed by American Indians/Alaska Natives, Hispanics/Latinos, blacks and whites.
Toxins. Exposure to some substances and chemicals can increase liver cancer risk. These include arsenic in drinking water, vinyl chloride in the workplace and aflatoxin, which can form on stored nuts and grains. Exposure to these toxins is unlikely in the U.S. due to federal standards for food, water and workplace safety, but they remain a problem in many other countries.
Metabolic disorders. Some rare inherited diseases, such as tyrosinemia, alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency, porphyria cutanea tarda and Wilson disease, can increase the risk of liver cancer.
The ACS offers these suggestions to help reduce your risk for liver cancer: