Although it may seem obvious, a new study has confirmed that using antivirals to treat Hepatitis C can reduce liver cancer caused by Hepatitis C by about 50%—and previous studies have shown a reduction of up to 70%.
Hepatitis C symptoms can rage silently in the liver for years before they become apparent, and by then liver damage may have already progressed to liver cancer, or even liver failure, requiring a transplant.
A reused needle—which can happen even in a medical setting—is one of the more common ways to contract Hepatitis C, although it can also be easily transmitted through any blood contact, even with an intermediary object like a razor or toothbrush. Not everyone exposed to Hepatitis C contracts the disease, however. Those who do may only show slight flu symptoms, like fever and malaise, and even those early Hepatitis C symptoms can take 6 months or more to develop.
Because Hepatitis C can’t be readily picked up by a blood test after transmission, if you’ve ever had any risk for the disease it’s important to get tested to ensure those silent Hepatitis C symptoms don’t progress to something unmanageable. Early treatment has always been the key to fighting Hepatitis C, and the new study demonstrates how much that’s true.
Remember, Baby Boomers are at an increased risk for Hepatitis C because needle reuse was common when they were growing up and receiving their vaccinations and other treatment.
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