What is the likelihood that someone infected with hepatitis B will develop liver cancer?
Individuals chronically infected with hepatitis B, who were infected at birth, and who do not receive any medical intervention or treatment, can have up to a 25% lifetime risk of developing liver cancer. The risk is highest for people with other risk factors – such as people who have cirrhosis, or a family history of liver cancer. The annual risk of developing liver cancer among people with hepatitis B is less than 1% in people without cirrhosis and 2-4% in people with cirrhosis. However, the risk of liver cancer can be significantly reduced with early detection of hepatitis B virus, treatment with antivirals if advised by your doctor, and making healthy lifestyle choices. Careful and early management of a chronic hepatitis B infection can avoid the progression of liver disease to cirrhosis, where there is the greatest risk for liver cancer. Regular screening for liver cancer, also known as liver cancer surveillance, can detect cancers early when they may be curative. Know your status and get tested for hepatitis B. Please keep in mind that feeling healthy and having no symptoms DOES NOT mean there is no infection, or consequent serious liver problems. So, ask your doctor to test you for hepatitis B, and if you’re living with hepatitis B, ask your doctor about liver cancer surveillance.
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Page updated 12/27/2022