Researchers have identified risk factors for the development of living cancer, which have previously been unknown.
Two Mayo Clinic studies have found that alcohol consumption, hepatitis C and obesity are three of the main causes of the condition.
Dr Ray Kim, lead researcher on the study, explained: "The liver scarring from hepatitis C can take 20 to 30 years to develop into cancer.
"We're now seeing cancer patients in their 50s and 60s who contracted hepatitis C 30 years ago and didn't even know they were infected."
Fatty liver disease caused by obesity also causes 11 per cent of cases of liver disease in America.
Primarily, obesity is thought to contribute to the most common form of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma.
In a study on mice at the University of California, it was found that obesity is tumour promoting, depending on induction of low-grade, chronic inflammation.
These discoveries could lead to new treatment pathways and preventative strategies for liver cancer.
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