Fatty liver disease, diabetes and a triglycerides level of above 160 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) are three major risk factors for developing liver cancer, and the disease’s progression does not necessarily include chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis, the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) said yesterday.

Liver cancer has been the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for many years, and about 85 percent of cases have been associated with chronic hepatitis viral infections — primarily chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C — which usually progress to cirrhosis before developing into liver cancer, it said.

However, as more cases of liver cancer that did not involve chronic hepatitis viral infection were diagnosed, the institute in 2005 teamed up with five medical centers to study the cases to identify other key risk factors of liver cancer, it added.

Risk factors for metabolic syndrome also apply to non-viral causes of liver cancer. People who are over 60 and have at least two of the three risk factors should regularly undergo liver cancer screenings.

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