How Hepatitis C Can Lead to Liver Cancer
Hepatitis C and liver cancer are the leading causes of liver transplants in the United States. Liver cancer may not always show symptoms in the early stages.
Hepatitis C symptoms
Symptoms of hep C can include:
- Loss of appetite
- Losing weight without trying
- Pain in the upper abdominal area
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue and weakness
- Swelling, especially in the abdomen
- Possible yellow discoloring of the skin and white of your eyes, known as jaundice
- White, chalky stools
Tests such as blood tests, ultrasounds, and MRI’s help detect cysts, tumors, and masses which can indicate liver cancer. If someone has cirrhosis, the chances of liver cancer are higher. Regular physical exams and tests are often recommended by liver specialists like hepatologists or gastroenterologists.
The best defense against hepatitis C is knowing the risk factors, get tested, and if you have hepatitis C, seeking treatment. Early detection and treatment can prevent further liver damage from occurring and significantly reduce the risk of liver cancer.
The following groups are a higher risk for being diagnosed with hepatitis C:
- Being born between 1945 and 1965 ("Baby Boomers")
- People who received an organ transplant or blood transfusion before July 1992
- People who received clotting factor before 1987
- Hemodialysis patients
- People who have used illegal drugs
- People who have been in jail or prison
- People who have received a needle-stick injury (such as healthcare workers)
- Having blood-to-blood contact with contaminated razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers, etc.
- Receiving an unsafe piercing or tattoo
- People diagnosed with HIV
- People who engaged in high-risk or rough sex
Knowledge is power
Many patients do not know how they contracted hepatitis C. Get tested regardless of if you have risk factors; Many people never know where they got hepatitis C. What’s important is that you get tested and treated so you can be cured!
Don’t forget about your hep C. Hep C doesn’t forget about you and is actively doing damage while you wait. Don’t compromise your life and future. Don’t wait. Be proactive with taking care of your liver, get tested and seek treatment so you can get cured.
Do you try to follow a liver-friendly diet?