New Delhi: If cancer is a word of fear, beware of Hepatitis for twin reasons; it can lead to liver cancer by itself and can complicate the surgery of other cancers as well. So, if you are harbouring hepatitis B or C in your body, it could be double whammy on you in times to come.
Talking to Medicare News, Dr Majid Ahmed, a renowned cancer surgeon at Oncoplus, an aggregator of all advanced cancer care hospital, said, ‘Hepatitis might be inching towards your liver but you may not be aware of it till it reaches the stage of liver cancer, most fatal of all cancers. Cancer and hepatitis together constitute a formidable combination, regardless type of cancer.’
Dr Ahmed further said, ‘At Oncoplus, we get 2 out 10 cancer patients in need of surgery infected with hepatitis virus. We screen them for ruling out hepatitis because it is a contraindication for any surgery. Surprisingly, their liver is even found seemingly alright. Cancer surgery of a hepatitis patient is a high risk surgery. We avoid surgery in such patients as they cannot endure it.’
More than 360 million people around the world suffer from chronic Hepatitis B infection, a severe viral infection that mainly affects liver. An alarming 40 million (4 crore ) of these are in India alone. Estimate apart, the fact is many are not even aware that they are infected with the virus. About 25 percent of people with chronic Hepatitis B infection degenerate into cirrhosis of the liver or Hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer). As stats go, every year 10 lakh newborns confront the risk of developing chronic Hepatitis B. WHO (World Health Organization) has underlined that lack of access of treatment; diagnostic facilities and basic awareness pose the major challenge.
Dr Ahmad adds, ‘Now, there are very good treatments of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, so people must get screened for it to keep liver cancer at bay. These infections are asymptomatic and wide chunk of population of Asian & African countries come to know about it so very late. You cannot say from their faces that they are infected with hepatitis B. It may be one of the potent reasons why liver cancer is increasingly on upswing.’