Liver disease may be invisible but it’s more prevalent than most people think

March 2017 :  A six-week-old baby is diagnosed with liver cancer, a 52-year-old finds out she has an autoimmune liver disease she’s never heard of and an eight-year-old boy receives the news that he has two different liver diseases. They are just three of the 1 in 4  -- or an estimated eight million Canadians -- who may be affected by liver disease.   

“When you bring up the topic of liver disease, it doesn’t take long for someone to say how it has personally affected them or someone they know,” says Gary Fagan, Canadian Liver Foundation president. “Ten years ago we said that 1 in 10 Canadians were at risk but when you factor in the rise of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease along with prevalence rates for hepatitis B and C, alcoholic liver disease, autoimmune liver diseases, children’s liver diseases,  liver cancer and more, we are now looking at 1 in 4. The numbers show liver disease is relevant to everyone.”

And yet liver disease is not a disease that people recognize – its symptoms can be vague, or even non-existent --  and so it often goes undetected by individuals and health care providers. 

March is Liver Health Month and the Canadian Liver Foundation is using this opportunity to highlight how liver disease is often ‘invisible’ to the eye and to the mind. We encourage Canadians to test out their knowledge with ’10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Liver Disease’  and to examine their own risk factors with the ‘What’s Your Risk?’ Quiz. In addition, the public can view and share our 1 in 4  video and visit  to learn the facts about liver disease, the stories behind it and to join in the CLF’s awareness efforts by sharing their own stories of how liver disease has affected them using the hashtag #tooclose4comfort