What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver and can be caused by three different viruses: hepatitis A, B and C.
Hepatitis A is a short-term infection and does not lead to cancer.
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can become long-term infections that can lead to scarring of the liver, called cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
There are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B but no vaccine for hepatitis C. However, there are several new therapies against hepatitis C that can remove all hepatitis C virus from a person’s body and cure them of the infection. However, if the person has been infected for a long period of time, there may already be significant liver scarring and even liver cancer.
Hepatitis B is the leading cause of liver cancer worldwide, but in the U.S., hepatitis C is much more common. Both of the viruses are treatable, and a simple blood test can make a diagnosis.
Get screened for hepatitis C if you:
- Are a baby boomer
- Have a past or current risk of exposure to hepatitis