1 Department of Medicine.
2 Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Alameda Health System, Highland Hospital, Oakland, CA.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide and remains one of the most rapidly rising cancers among the US adults. While overall HCC survival is poor, early diagnosis via timely and consistent implementation of routine HCC surveillance among at-risk individuals leads to earlier tumor stage at diagnosis, which is directly correlated with improved options for potentially curative therapies, translating into improved overall survival. Despite this well-established understanding of the benefits of HCC surveillance, surveillance among cirrhosis patients remains suboptimal in a variety of practice settings. While the exact reasons underlying the unacceptably low rates of routine HCC surveillance are complex, it likely reflects multifactorial contributions at the patient, provider, and health care system levels. Furthermore, these multilevel challenges affect ethnic minorities disproportionately, which is particularly concerning given that ethnic minorities already experience existing barriers in timely access to consistent medical care, and these populations are disproportionately affected by HCC burden in the United States. In this review, we provide an updated evaluation of the existing literature on rates of HCC surveillance in the United States. We specifically highlight the existing literature on the impact of patient-specific, provider-specific, and health care system-specific factors in contributing to challenges in effective implementation of HCC surveillance.