Hepatitis B and C could cause ‘significantly higher cancer risk’ than smoking daily pack of cigarettes

Hepatitis B and C could cause ‘significantly higher cancer risk’ than smoking daily pack of cigarettes

World Hepatitis Day is on July 28 (Alamy/PA)
World Hepatitis Day is on July 28 (Alamy/PA)
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People living with hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) could be just as likely or more likely to develop cancer than someone smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, new research suggests.

According to the Center for Disease Analysis (CDA) Foundation, people infected with hepatitis B and C viruses “have a similar or significantly higher risk of developing cancer than someone who actively smokes one pack of cigarettes per day”, and therefore HBC and HBC should be “considered as cancer causing infections and international guidelines should be reconsidered accordingly”.

Hepatitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the liver, according to the NHSHepatitis B is spread in the blood of an infected person – it can be spread from infected women to their babies, or through unprotected sex and injecting drugs – and hepatitis C is usually spread through blood-to-blood contact with an infected person. The NHS says HCV is most commonly spread in the UK through sharing needles used to inject drugs.

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The foundation found that HBV and HCV viruses are highly oncogenic. Oncogenes are mutated genes which can lead to cancers in multiple organs and sites.

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