Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver and can be caused by 3 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 most important driver of liver cancer worldwide, but in the US, hepatitis C is much more common. Both of the viruses can be effectively treated, but first need to be diagnosed. A simple blood test can make the diagnosis and treatment is safe and effective. Baby boomers should be screened for hepatitis C and anyone with a past or current risk of exposure to hepatitis should be screened.
To learn more about viral hepatitis, its role in the development of HCC, and the treatment options that we offer, contact the Texas Liver Tumor Center or directly contact Texas Liver Institute, which offers state of the art therapy for viral hepatitis.