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  PREVENTION OF LIVER DISEASES

The rule 'prevention is better than cure' applies very aptly to the liver. Cure of many liver diseases is expensive, time consuming and at times very radical. Hence measures aimed at reducing the incidence of liver disease make more economic sense for both individuals and for a community.

Prevention of chronic liver disease and liver cancer

Liver cancer is the fourth commonest killer among all cancers in the body. The most significant risk factors are- exposure to alcohol, Hepatitis-C and Hepatitis-B.

In India though most blood banks would screen for HBSAg, the carrier rate of this virus is very high (11%- Dept.of Transfusion medicine, Apollo Indraprastha hospital, New Delhi) and even the HBSAg positivity is quite high at 1-1.5%, hence the chance of viral transmission can be high since many blood banks do not screen for HbcAb status.

Since there is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis-B., all children should receive a vaccination for hepatitis-B.. This is certainly the most cost effective way to prevent liver cancer in the future.

Hepatitis-C is also an important risk factor for liver cancer. However there is no vaccination for this virus. The mode of spread of this virus in the community could be multipronged. Blood transfusion with blood unscreened for hepatitis-C, use of unsterilized needles for injections and unprotected sexual intercourse being the few accepted modes of spread. Precautions that address these issues will reduce incidence of hepatitis-C related liver disease and subsequent liver cancer.

Changing the way certain food grains are stored in the tropical countries could reduce exposure to substances and toxic fungi which are believed to induce liver cancer.

Reducing alcohol consumption and disincentives to reduce alcohol consumption in a community will go a long way in reducing the incidence of chronic liver disease and liver cancer.

HCV Vaccine - Get it! Hepatitis A and Hepatitis C don't mix!
Hepatitis A (HAV) is not ordinarily a lethal disease although it can in some rare cases cause liver failure. But if you already have Hepatitis C(HCV) then HAV can be deadly. According to an article by Dan O' Neill "Hepatitis A and Hepatitis C Don't mix." Source It is highly recommended by many doctors to get the HAV vaccine.


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