The longer we have hepatitis B, the higher our risk of developing liver cancer. With every decade of life, our liver cancer risk increases 2.7-times, according to a report on Viral Hepatitis in the Elderly published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
But current medical guidelines don’t spell out exactly when liver cancer testing should begin in many hepatitis B patients who don’t have liver damage (cirrhosis) or a family history of liver cancer, and are not of Asian or African descent.
Age is clearly an important factor when it comes to liver cancer, “… but current guidelines only provide age-specific recommendations for (liver cancer) surveillance in hepatitis B carriers of Asian ethnicity (men over age 40 and women over age 50),” a team of University of Miami and Veterans Affairs researchers wrote in the journal article. Continue reading "Your Doctor Not Screening You for Liver Cancer? Time for a Talk"→
The mood was euphoric. It was a love fest, actually. Last week, more than 600 policy makers, public health experts, and representatives from non-governmental organizations and patient advocacy groups from 80 countries were invited to participate in the first World Hepatitis Summit in Scotland hosted by the World Hepatitis Alliance in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO). The Hepatitis B Foundation was pleased to be invited and to speak during the pre-summit meeting as well.
Around the world, older adults bear the greatest burden of hepatitis B. Born before the childhood vaccination became available, about 4.7 percent of U.S. adults over age 50 have been infected and their chronic hepatitis B rate is nearly two-fold higher than in younger adults.
Today, all pregnant women are routinely screened for hepatitis B, but a growing number of doctors say this single test doesn’t go far enough to protect the health of women and children.
In a commentary published in the medical journal Pediatrics, infectious disease specialist Dr. Ravi Jhaveri calls for a mandatory second test in pregnant women infected with hepatitis B. This test would measure the amount of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in her body (called viral load).
HBF is pleased to connect our blog readers to Christine Kukka’s monthly HBV Journal Review that she writes for the HBV Advocate. The journal presents the latest in hepatitis B research, treatment, and prevention from recent academic and medical journals. This month, the following topics are explored:
New Treatments Targeting Hepatitis B Start Clinical Trials Soon
Experts Urge Doctors to Screen Pregnant Women for Both Hepatitis B and High Viral Loads
Using Antivirals Early in a Pregnancy Reduces Infection of Newborns
Some Pregnant Women in U.S. Still Not Getting Screened for HBV and STIs
High Viral Loads in Men Increase the Amount of HBV DNA in Their Sperm
Despite Vaccine, Rural States See Rise in Hepatitis B Due to Heroin Use
More Than Half of Young Drug Users Are Not Vaccinated Against Hepatitis A and B
Shorter Vaccination Schedule Works to Prevent Infection Among Drug Users
Generic Entecavir Could Treat All Patients Worldwide for $36 a Year
Reformulated Tenofovir Appears Better at Fighting Infection in Liver Cells
Another Report Calls for Doctors to Screen All Patients for HBV Before Starting Chemotherapy
Study Confirms Aflatoxins Increase Liver Cancer in Hepatitis B Patients
Apple recently revealed a list of its suppliers of the iphone, ipad and other gadgets, and the labor, health and health and environmental violations against some of the offenders. Most of these violations were out of Taiwan and China. Included in the list of violations was the screening of employees for hepatitis B. What will this disclosure mean to those living with hepatitis B in China and around the world? Apple has responded to each of the violations that were uncovered and says it will end relationships with repeat offenders. Will this stop discrimination against those living with HBV? Probably not, but it may stir-the-pot, encouraging other corporations to do the same. Apple has star power, and the ability to make waves due to their success and reputation. However, it is likely that foreign suppliers will circumvent the system and continue screening its employees or prospective employees for hepatitis B.
The question is how a job making gadgets, or components for gadgets, for Apple or any other company could possibly pose a reasonable risk of HBV exposure to any factory employee? Hepatitis B is not transmitted casually. It is not transmitted by sneezing, coughing, shaking hands, sharing a meal, or working side-by-side with someone on the factory floor or sharing an office with someone who has hepatitis B. HBV is transmitted through blood and infected body fluids through blood to blood contact, unprotected sex, unsterilized needles and from an HBV infected mother to her newborn during delivery.
Every day the Hepatitis B Foundation responds to inquiries from people around the globe. Due to the stigma associated with HBV, chronic carriers may be denied employment due only to their HBsAg positive status. There are special circumstances where exposure prone procedures may put others at risk due to an HBV infection. This would be limited to health care positions that involve invasive procedures such as gynecologic, cardio-thoracic or surgical procedures that might put a patient at risk. These risk-prone occupations do not include – other health care positions, jobs in the food industry, the retail industry, being in an office, in a factory, on cruise line, or any number of ordinary jobs. A positive HBsAg test should not prohibit employment, or entering and working in another country.
There will always be discrimination in our world. Even with laws that protect employees in the U.S. there are ways to circumvent the system and quietly discriminate. In many countries where HBV is prevalent, discrimination is blatant. And of course HBV screening is merely the tip of the iceberg with the violations and deplorable working conditions in countries like China. Eyes wide-open can be a little disconcerting for those of us with our favorite gadgets. Apple’s disclosure of these violations is commendable and a start in the right direction. Hopefully other companies will step-up and follow their lead.