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Who is more likely to get liver cancer

Anyone can get primary liver cancer. It's not always clear what causes it.

You might be more likely to get it if you:

  • are over the age of 60, it's most common in people over 85
  • are a man
  • have certain medical conditions, such as hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, gallstones, diabetes, a parasite in the liver (liver flukes), and HIV
  • have a brother, sister or parent who had primary liver cancer

Secondary liver cancer is caused by cancer cells from a cancer somewhere else in the body spreading to the liver.

Many liver cancers are also linked to your lifestyle.

How to reduce your chance of getting primary liver cancer

You cannot always prevent primary liver cancer. But making healthy changes can lower your chances of getting it.


  • try to lose weight if you are overweight

  • wear protective clothes and masks if you work in a job where you're exposed to harmful chemicals

  • try to cut down on alcohol – avoid drinking more than 14 units a week

  • try to quit smoking


It's important to get any symptoms of liver cancer checked by a GP.

Anyone can get liver cancer, even if you do not think you have a higher chance of getting it.

Page last reviewed: 06 May 2020
Next review due: 06 May 2023