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Liver Cancer Death Rates Surge

Older Americans have the highest rates, the CDC reports

Illustration of liver cancer

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En españolDeath rates from liver cancer rose by 43 percent between 2000 and 2016, a “significant” spike that was especially deadly for older Americans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed this week.

The CDC's report did not identify the cause of such a big increase or the reasons that some states had a much higher rate than others. The National Cancer Institute has pointed to hepatitis infections, diabetes and rising obesity as risk factors for liver cancer.

In 2016 the highest rates were in the District of Columbia, Louisiana, Hawaii, Mississippi and New Mexico. The lowest rates were in Vermont, Maine, Montana, Utah and Nebraska.

Americans 75 and older had the highest death rates, followed by the age groups 65 to 74 and 55 to 64. All experienced increases since 2000.

According to the report:

  • For those 75 and older, the death rate increased 35 percent from 2000 to 2016.
  • For those ages 65 to 74, the rate rose 7 percent from 2000 to 2008 and 37 percent from 2008 to 2016.
  • For those ages 55 to 64, the rate soared 109 percent from 2000 to 2013 but remained stable through 2016.
  • For those ages 45 to 54, the rate jumped 31 percent from 2000 to 2005, remained stable from 2005 to 2012 and then decreased 20 percent from 2012 to 2016.

The death rate for men was 2 to 2.5 times the rate for women from 2000 to 2016, the CDC reported.

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