WHIPPANY, N.J., Oct. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- While liver cancer represents the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, there are very real gaps in the public's knowledge regarding its risk factors, according to a new survey.1,2 Throughout October, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals is commemorating Liver Cancer Awareness Month to help increase awareness of this deadly disease and its risk factors. As part of this effort, Bayer and the American Liver Foundation (ALF) are partnering for a second year on the Are You at Risk? campaign.
Despite progress in cancer research and the development of new treatments, liver cancer is one of the few cancers in the United States on the rise. In fact, the percentage of Americans diagnosed with liver cancer has been rising slowly for several decades. In the U.S., it is estimated that nearly 25,000 Americans will die from liver cancer this year alone.3
"We suspected there was a gap in understanding liver cancer risk factors among adults in the U.S., and our survey results showed this is, in fact, the case," said Shannon Campbell, vice president and general manager of Oncology at Bayer. "Through our partnership with the ALF, we are committed to raising the profile of this deadly disease, its risk factors, and the need for early detection."
Bayer commissioned an online survey of 1,515 American adults to measure awareness of liver cancer and its risk factors and identify areas to inform educational activities in key cities.2
While the majority of survey respondents (68 percent) reported they are aware of liver cancer, many underestimated the risk factors associated with the disease, which include hepatitis B and C viruses, morbid obesity and diabetes, and alcoholic cirrhosis.2,3 Less than half (43 percent) identified chronic viral hepatitis as being associated with the disease, and fewer than four in ten (38 percent and 32 percent, respectively) were aware obesity and diabetes are linked to liver cancer.2 In fact, one in ten respondents (11 percent) were unable to correctly identify any risk factor associated with the disease.2
"It is crucial that we familiarize the population with the risks associated with liver cancer, as symptoms often do not emerge until the disease has advanced and is more difficult to treat," said Thomas F. Nealon III, national board chair and chief executive officer of the American Liver Foundation.3 "Our partnership with Bayer is enabling us to provide important information to Americans this October, and to encourage those most at risk to take early action and start a dialogue with their doctors."
The 2015 Are You at Risk? campaign will be coming to major cities including New York, San Francisco and Chicago. Interactive banners and billboards in those cities will direct people to the ALF website (www.liverfoundation.org/livercancer) for more information about liver cancer, its risk factors and warning signs, and the importance of screenings of at risk populations and early detection.
"The risk factors associated with liver cancer are not only behavioral: age, gender and even ethnicity can increase a person's likelihood for developing the disease," said Dr. Myron Schwartz, The Henry Kaufmann Professor of Surgery and director of Liver Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. "Learning about and discussing the risks with your doctor can pave the way for screening tests and regular physical exams, as needed, and early diagnosis can nearly double chances for survival." 3
More than 95 percent of people diagnosed with liver cancer are 45 years of age or older.3 In the United States, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have the highest rates of liver cancer, followed by American Indians, Alaska Natives and Hispanic Americans.3 Unfortunately, the survey found that less than a quarter of survey respondents (24 percent) knew that race and ethnicity can contribute to liver cancer.2
About the Bayer Liver Cancer Awareness Survey
The liver cancer awareness survey commissioned by Bayer was conducted online between August 24-27, 2015, among 1,515 U.S. adults ages 18 and over via Toluna's MultiMind omnibus product.2 Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Toluna surveys. The terms and conditions for participation in Toluna surveys are set forth in the Toluna website.2 Figures for age, sex, region and income were weighted where necessary to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the census population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
About Liver Cancer
Liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer among men in the world and the second most common cause of death from cancer worldwide, accounting for more than 600,000 deaths each year.1,3 Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common form of liver cancer, and is responsible for about 80 percent of the primary malignant liver tumors in adults.3 It is estimated that more than 35,000 Americans will be diagnosed with liver cancer in 2015, and almost 25,000 will die from the disease.3 It is often hard to find liver cancer early because signs and symptoms often do not appear until it is in its later stages.3 Signs and symptoms of liver cancer include abdominal pain, jaundice, nausea and vomiting, among others.3 Diagnosing liver cancer early is key as a patient's chance of survival nearly doubles if the disease is caught before it has begun to spread (or metastasize).3
About the American Liver Foundation
Founded in 1976, the American Liver Foundation (ALF) is the nation's largest patient advocacy organization for people with liver disease. ALF reaches more than 1.5 million individuals each year with health information, education and support services via its national office, 17 U.S. divisions and an active online presence. Recognized as a trusted voice for liver disease patients, ALF also operates a national toll-free helpline, educates patients, policymakers and the public, and provides grants to early-career researchers to help find a cure for all liver diseases. For more information about ALF, please visit www.liverfoundation.org.
Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2014, the Group employed around 119,000 people and had sales of EUR 42.2 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.5 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 3.6 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
Bayer® and the Bayer Cross® are registered trademarks of Bayer.
1 World Health Organization: GLOBOCAN 2012. "Liver Cancer: Estimated Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide in 2012." Available at: http://globocan.iarc.fr/Pages/fact_sheets_cancer.aspx. Accessed on September 21, 2015.
2 Toluna MultiMind Omnibus. Liver Cancer Awareness Survey Results, 2015. The general methodology of the survey, as well as the terms, conditions and benefits of participation for participants, are described on the Toluna website at http://www.toluna-group.com/docs/default-source/Brochure_Docs/toluna_multimind_omnibus.pdf
3 American Cancer Society. "Liver Cancer." (Last revised January 13, 2015). Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003114-pdf.pdf. Accessed on September 21, 2015.
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SOURCE Bayer Corporation