PARIS — Liver cancer, one of the greatest challenges to hepatologists today, will be in the spotlight at the upcoming International Liver Congress (ILC) 2018.

It will become an even greater challenge in the near future, said Morris Sherman, PhD, from the University of Toronto, who is chair of the Canadian Liver Foundation.

“Liver cancer is increasing in most Western countries, partly because of the hepatitis C epidemic that occurred in the 1950s and 1960s,” he told Medscape Medical News. “These people are now 60 to 70 years old and have had their disease a very long time. They now they are starting to come down with end-stage liver cancer.”

“We’re not 100% sure of this, but certainly in the United States, and probably in Canada, the majority of patients with hepatitis C have not yet been diagnosed,” he added.

Although there are a handful of existing and emerging treatments for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, they are not highly effective, he said.

“We’re not going to be able to transplant everybody, so we need to be able to manage end-stage liver disease better than we currently do,” Sherman explained. And there is currently a shortage of centers equipped to manage what is expected to be the burgeoning number of patients with end-stage liver cancer.

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