Primary liver cancer

The NSW Cancer Plan will improve all cancer outcomes across the community, but there is a focus on primary liver cancer, specifically in priority populations.

Primary liver cancer has recently become one of the top ten causes of cancer death in Australia.

It is increasing in Australia with almost 1,400 people diagnosed each year. 

The most common cause of primary liver cancer is chronic hepatitis B, a common viral infection carried in the blood and body fluids.

It can occur in higher rates in people from specific regions or countries.  In Australia it is the most common cause of primary liver cancer for:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations including people from Vietnam, China, Indonesia, Korea, Hong Kong and Macau.

Hepatitis B is commonly spread from mother to baby during childbirth, and it can also spread from one person to another through contact with infected blood and body fluids. Hepatitis B can be reduced through:

  • vaccination
  • practising safe sex
  • minimising needle sharing.

Liver cancer can also be reduced by changing preventable lifestyle choices including:

  • drinking too much alcohol
  • being overweight and obese.