(Reuters Health) – Screening people with alcoholic liver damage for signs of cancer may not be worth the expense or other downsides, a new report says.
Alcoholism can lead to cirrhosis, or scarring, of the liver. People with cirrhosis have a higher-than-average risk of developing liver cancer, but it is not clear whether screening people with cirrhosis for the cancer extends lives.
In the new study, Danish researchers found that for alcoholic cirrhosis patients in their country, the risk of liver cancer is so low that screening may not be justified.
Of nearly 8,500 Danish adults hospitalized for alcoholic cirrhosis, the chance of developing liver cancer in the next five years was 1 percent, the study found.