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When Hepatitis C Leads to Liver Cancer

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Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors

“Every 30 seconds, one individual dies from liver cancer.” These words were issued by the Caring Ambassadors Program (CAP) as it announced the first meeting of the Liver Cancer Roundtable recently held in Washington, DC. Here are some more shocking facts reported by CAP:

  • Globally, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the second deadliest cancer in men and number 3 overall.
  • Together with liver cirrhosis, it results in 1.75 million deaths per year.
  • One in twelve of the world’s population is affected by chronic hepatitis B or C, which cause 80-85 percent of all the world’s HCC. 25-40 percent of those infected with viral hepatitis will die as a result of cirrhosis or HCC.
  • Hepatitis B and C are preventable and treatable, so these HCC deaths are also preventable. Hepatitis B is especially preventable because there is a vaccine for it. Universal birth and full 3-dose vaccination for hepatitis B should be a global priority, but 25% of the world’s children are still unvaccinated.
  • Most cancers rates are falling in the U.S. HCC is the notable exception. It is the fastest rising cause of cancer death in this country.

Douglas LaBrecque, MD and Lorren Sandt co-chaired the Liver Cancer Roundtable. LaBrecque is Professor Emeritus at the University of Iowa, and Chair of the Liver Section of the World Gastroenterology Organization. Sandt is the Executive Director of the Caring Ambassadors Program. Event attendees included leading academic experts in liver cancer, patient advocates, and representatives from HHS, NIH, and the CDC. The outcome of their discussions will be a National Action Plan for the prevention, diagnosis, care, and treatment of liver cancer.

For more information, contact Lorren Sandt at Caring Ambassadors Program (503) 632-9030.

Thank you Lorren, Doug, and all those who are making a difference.

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