We will do this by reducing the impact of viral hepatitis. We will promote vaccination against hepatitis B, safe sex and clean-needle use, earlier detection of hepatitis B and C with screening blood tests, better monitoring and treatment for people infected with those diseases, and access to care for liver cancer patients.
In San Francisco, liver cancer is the 9th most common cancer and the 5th most deadly. Men develop liver cancer at more than double the rate of women. Asian Americans bear the brunt of this disease, but the past 20 years have brought increases in liver cancer in African Americans and Latinos.
Most liver cancers in the U.S. occur in people with cirrhosis (liver scarring), typically from chronic hepatitis B and C infection or heavy alcohol use. People with hepatitis B can also get liver cancer without having cirrhosis. San Francisco is no different.
Hepatitis B (HBV) is the primary cause of liver cancer. It can be transmitted by sexual contact, needle use, and during birth from mothers who are chronic carriers, a common way that Asian Americans get hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C (HCV) is another major cause of liver cancer. It is transmitted by sharing blood with an infected person via injection drug use, blood transfusions, or needle stick injuries. There is no vaccine for HCV. There are a number of highly effective drugs on the market, but their high costs pose a barrier to controlling HCV. It is important to note that HCV and HBV can be asymptomatic, and many who are infected often are unaware that they harbor the viruses.
The Liver Cancer Task Force has forged partnerships with an initial focus on screening and treatment for hepatitis B and hepatitis C, both of which significantly increase the risk of liver cancer. The diseases affect a broad swath of the population, but liver cancer rates in Asian and Asian American communities are particularly high - and they are increasing rapidly in African American, Latino, and other underserved populations.
Goals: Eliminate HBV infection; HBV viral suppression; Eliminate HCV
Higher rates of HBV vaccination, screening and appropriate treatment through collaborations with SF Hep B Free, clinicians, and the creation of a patient navigation telephone line.
Higher rates of HCV screening, appropriate treatment, and cure through collaboration with the EndHepC SF campaign.
Goal: More people who are at-risk screened for liver cancer
Method: Increase liver cancer screening capacity for those at-risk at ZSFG
Goal: Reduce mortality from liver cancer
Method: Improve access to state of the art care for liver cancer including clinical trials.