• Contact Us

    Texas Comprehensive Cancer Control Program
    Chronic Disease Prevention Branch MC 1945
    PO Box 149347
    Austin, TX 78714-9347

    Phone: (512) 776-6569
    Fax: (512) 776-7254


    Email comments or questions

This Month in Cancer Awareness

Para ver esta página en español

This Month in Cancer Awareness

World Hepatitis Day is July 28th

Viral hepatitis is a group of infectious diseases that affect the liver. The liver does many jobs, including storing nutrients and removing waste from our body.1 Hepatitis can cause both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) liver disease, including liver cancer. World Hepatitis Day is an opportunity to learn more about viral hepatitis and how it is connected to liver cancer.

Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

Both HBV and HCV cause viral hepatitis. Other viruses can also cause hepatitis (such as hepatitis A virus), but only HBV and HCV can cause the long-term infections that increase a person’s chance of liver cancer.

HBV and HCV are usually transmitted through exposure to infectious blood or body fluids that contain blood. This could include injection drug use, birth to a mother infected with HBV or HCV, or coming into contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person.2,3

There is a vaccine to prevent HBV infection. In the United States, the HBV vaccine is recommended for all children. It is also recommended for adults who are at risk of exposure. The best way to prevent HBV is to get vaccinated.

There is no vaccine to prevent HCV infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HCV testing for everyone born between 1945 and 1965. The CDC also recommends testing for adults who are at high risk of HCV infection, such as people who have injected drugs or people who have HIV.3

Liver Cancer

In Texas, more people get liver cancer each year than in anywhere else in the United States. In 2018, the Texas Cancer Registry estimated that there would be about 3,700 cases of liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer in Texas, and that about 2,500 people would die from the disease.4 Since 2001, the number of people who get liver cancer in Texas has increased every year.4

Many liver cancer cases are related to the hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infections. Most people with these viruses don’t know that they have them. Other behaviors and conditions that increase the risk for liver cancer include:1

  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver, which can also be caused by hepatitis and alcohol use)
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Having hemochromatosis, a condition where the body takes up and stores more iron than it needs
  • Eating foods that have aflatoxin (a fungus that can grow on foods, such as grains and nuts that have not been stored properly)

References:

1. Liver Cancer | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/liver/index.htm. Published January 8, 2019. Accessed June 11, 2019.

2. Hepatitis B Questions and Answers for the Public | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hbv/bfaq.htm#overview. Published May 22, 2018. Accessed June 11, 2019.

3. Hepatitis B Questions and Answers for the Public | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hbv/bfaq.htm#overview. Published May 22, 2018. Accessed June 11, 2019.

4. Liver and Intrahepatic Bile Duct Cancer in Texas. Austin, TX: Texas Dept. of State Health Services, Texas Cancer Registry; November 2018.



 


Last updated July 1, 2019