World Hepatitis Day Sheds Light on Hepatitis C, Smoking, and Liver Cancer’s Connection

July 28 is World Hepatitis Day. What does this have to do with substance abuse prevention? A 2011 American Cancer Society study showed that nearly half the cases of liver cancer were correlated to smoking.

Hepatitis, a viral inflammation of the liver caused by five different viruses (A, B, C, D, and E), includes possible symptoms such as nausea, dark urine, extreme fatigue, vomiting, abdominal pain, and jaundice (yellow skin and eyes). And the B and C strains have been found to lead to liver cancer.

Liver cancer claims about 600,000 lives annually and has a low (12 percent), five-year survival rate in the United States - even lower elsewhere. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention found that smoking interacts with both Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C in exacerbating the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer. Additionally, one International Journal of Cancer study found that Hepatitis C-positive men who smoke were 136 times more likely to acquire liver cancer than HCV-positive men who did not.

In 2004, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified liver cancer as one of the official tobacco-related cancers. Given the evidence, the best solution to this problem is to never start smoking or to stop now.

Do you want to learn more? Engage with CADCA’s Geographic Health Equity Alliance (GHEA). GHEA serves as a national network of coalitions, state programs, federal agencies, researchers, community and place-based organizations and other pertinent stakeholders, who aim to promote and execute evidence-based practices and emerging strategies to address geographical health disparities related to tobacco use, cancer prevention and survivorship.

Subscribe to CADCA’s Geographic Health Equity Alliance’s July “Network Navigator." 

In addition, learn new strategies to extinguish tobacco at CADCA’s Mid-Year Training Institute July 17-21 in Las Vegas. Register now.