May 4, 2010 | Miki Garcia
Recent data released from the National Cancer Institute confirms that San Francisco has the highest rate of liver cancer in the U.S. as Asian Americans make up more than 30 percent of the local population. Hepatitis B is easily preventable through a hepatitis B blood test and vaccine.
What is Hepatitis B?
According to San Francisco Hep B Free, hepatitis B is a disease caused by infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Infection with HBV can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, and liver cancer. Eighty percent of liver cancer worldwide is caused by HBV infection. It is 100 times more infectious than HIV. Because of its infectiousness, it can survive outside of the body for up to seven days and HBV can be spread through shared razors and toothbrushes that have contaminated blood on them.
Hepatitis B Facts - Hepatitis B Liver Cancer
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis B is:
- Worldwide, 350 to 400 million people have hepatitis B. Many do not know they are infected. Hepatitis B silently attacks the liver and is the leading cause of liver cancer, one of the most lethal, expensive and fastest growing cancers in America.
- There are over 43,000 new hepatitis B cases in the U.S. each year, with the greatest incidence among adults between ages 19-49 years old.
- Hepatitis B is one of the leading health disparities between Asians and non-Hispanic whites.
- Among the Asian population the predominant mode of transmission is from infected mother to child during birth. Hepatitis B can also be spread through unprotected sex and shared needles.
- There is a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection from hepatitis B.
As the diagnosis of hepatitis B is easily missed, the only way to diagnose for hepatitis B infection is through a simple and inexpensive blood test. San Francisco Hep B Free says HBV infection and the liver cancer and liver failure associated with chronic infection are all vaccine preventable with the hepatitis B vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have called the hepatitis B vaccine the first "anti-cancer" vaccine.
About San Francisco Hepatitis B Free
San Francisco Hep B Free – a first-of-its-kind collaboration between city government, private health care community organizations and businesses – is working to make San Francisco hepatitis B-free by creating awareness about the importance of testing and vaccinating especially Asian Americans for hepatitis B.
California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-SF), is working on a state bill calling for preventative hepatitis B care and vaccination and taking action with San Francisco Hep B Free and raising public awareness on the impact of the deadly virus.
"As a Chinese-American, I have been the legislature's leading advocate to eliminate hepatitis B. The cause has special meaning to me because I live with chronic hepatitis B, a disease that affects 2 million Americans," said Assemblywoman Ma.
Read more at Suite101: Asian Americans Have the Highest Rate of Liver Cancer in the U.S. http://cancer-types.suite101.com/article.cfm/asian-americans-have-the-highest-rate-of-liver-cancer-in-the-us#ixzz0nP56vLPw