March 4, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Diane Tilton
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) this week released a final screening recommendation for hepatitis C testing. The Prevent Cancer Foundation® applauds the USPSTF’s recommendation that all adults ages 18 – 79 receive hepatitis C screening. This is an change from the 2013 recommendation, which recommended hepatitis C screening only for those at high risk and one-time screening for adults born between 1945 and 1965 (“baby boomers”). The new recommendation has a “B” rating for the guidance.
Most liver cancer cases are related to chronic infection with the hepatitis C or hepatitis B viruses. In the 10 years between 2010 and 2020, an estimated 150,000 people in the U.S. will have died from liver disease or liver cancer linked to chronic hepatitis C or hepatitis B.
The good news is that you can get tested for hepatitis C infection and, if positive, treated for the infection. Treating the infection can prevent many cases of liver cancer from occurring in the first place. (There is also a vaccine to protect against hepatitis B, and treatments if you do have the hepatitis B virus.)
Baby boomers and others at high risk of hepatitis C need to be aware of their risk and get screened, but many people who are at high risk may not even realize it. With the USPSTF’s recommendation to screen all adults, we can diagnose the virus in people who would not have been tested previously.
The benefits of broader screening guidelines will significantly reduce the number of deaths related to liver cancer, outweighing the emotional distress of possible false positive screenings.
More people being screened for hepatitis C means more cases of the virus will be found and treated before they lead to liver cancer. This is critical in order to save lives and Stop Cancer Before It Starts!®
For more information on hepatitis C and liver cancer, visit Think About the Link.