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Alan Franciscus
HCV Advocate

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hepatitis epidemic must be tackled to stop liver cancer cases doubling

THE number of new cases of liver cancer will soar in Australia over the next decade unless urgent action is taken to diagnose and treat an epidemic of viral hepatitis, experts warn.

A physician with the Victorian Infectious Diseases Service, Benjamin Cowie, said liver cancer cases were expected to double to about 2500 a year if more was not done to tackle the underlying causes. Hepatitis B and C were the primary causes of liver cancer, with hepatitis B the most significant single cause of cancer worldwide, after tobacco, Dr Cowie said.

Hepatitis B affected about 200,000 Australians, most of them Aboriginal or born overseas in countries where there was an epidemic. Hepatitis C affected about 230,000 Australians and was most commonly caused by drug users sharing needles.

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