Asian American Center for Cancer Education and Research

Hep B & Liver Cancer

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Hep B & Liver Cancer
Tufts - New England Medical Center
750 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111

Facts (Hep B & Liver Cancer): 

  A Silent Killer - Relationship between HBV and Liver Cancer:

   - 1 in 4 hep. B carrier die from liver cancer.

   - Every 30 seconds hep. B takes a life.

   - Asians are over 50 times more affected by Hepatitis B than the gerneral U.S. population.
   Just 3 shots. Protect your life. Get vaccinated. Get treated.

For more information, please contact:
Tufts - New England Medical Center
750 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111
Other Hepatitis B Clinics in the Greater Boston Areas:  
  South Cove Community Health Center in Chinatown, MA
   1 & 3rd Saturdays of each month from 9am to 1pm
   885 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111
   The Sharewood Project in Malden, MA
   at The First Church of Malden
   Tuesdays (6:30pm to 9pm)
   184 Pleasant St., Malden, MA 2148
   Dorchester House Multiservice Center in Dorchester, MA
   2nd and 4th Saturdays of every month (9am to 12:30pm)
   1353 Drochester Ave., Dorchester, MA 02122


Source: Asian Liver Center at Stanford University -

Jin Sumei 金素梅 Edit
Interview with Jin Sumei 金素梅 who is internationally known  for her role in the movie, The Wedding Banquet 喜宴, but actress and Taiwanese Congresswoman Jin Sumei (May Chin) is aslo a liver cancer survivor.
Click on links to watch: (all in Mandarin)


HBV in the United States

- In the United States, an estimated 130,000 people become infected with HBV each year.
- 5000 people die each year from HBV related liver cancer or cirrhosis with liver failure.
- Medical and work loss costs for HBV-related conditions total more than $700 million per year in the United States.

- An estimated 1.4 million Americans are chronically infected with HBV. Over half are API Americans.
- More than 2/3 of HBV cases have no symptoms - or unrecognized symptoms - so most people who become chronically infected never know it.
- If symptoms develop, they are often mistaken for those of influenza - fever, fatigue, joint or muscle pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Jaundice (the yellow dis oloration of eyes and skin), which is usually a sign of liver damage, may not occur.

Age of Infection % of those infected who become chronic carriers
0-1 90%
1-5 60%
Adults 10%

The Relationship between HBV and Liver Cancer - A Silent Killer
- To reiterate, the greatest health disparity between Asian Americans and Caucasian Americans is liver cancer, 80% of which is caused by chronic hepatitis B virus infection.
- One out of 4 people with chronic hepatitis B virus infection who became chronically infected during childhood (in other words, approximately 100 million of the 400 million chronic HBV infected people in the world) will die of HBV-related liver cancer or cirrhosis.
- Liver cancer is often fatal because when the cancer is small, there are no symptoms and thus, the diagnosis is generally made quite late.
- Liver cancer can occur in those with chronic HBV infection without cirrhosis; the risk is higher with cirrhosis, in men (3:1 male to female ratio), and with a family history of liver cancer.
- Liver cancer usually develops between 35 and 65 years of age, when people are maximally productive and with family responsibilities.
- An estimated 550,000 people each year die of liver cancer; 360,000 deaths each year are from countries in Eastern Asia alone (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea)
- Liver cancer is one of the top three causes of death by cancer in most of Asia, the Pacific, and sub-Saharan Africa, and at least 80% of liver cancer is caused by HBV. Worldwide, liver cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men, although uncommon in North America and Europe.

Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones is Easy - Get Vaccinated
- HBV infection, especially during infancy and early childhood, is easy to prevent with the hepatitis B vaccine. Since 80% of liver cancer is HBV-related, the vaccine is considered the first 'anti-cancer vaccine.'
- Hepatitis B vaccine is safe and has been given to over 500 million people in the world.
- When given in infants within 12 hours of birth and at 2 months and 6 months, completion of the three-dose vaccine series induces a protective antibody response in 95% to 99% of vaccinated infants, even when the mother is a hepatitis B carrier. In addition, a direct reduction in liver cancer in cohorts of immunized children has already been demonstrated in Taiwan.
- Post-vaccination testing for immunity is not necessary after routine vaccination of infants, children, adolescents, or adults. Testing for immunity (anti-HBs) at 9-15 months of age after completing the series at 6 months of age is advised for infants born to mothers who are infected with HBV. Testing 1-2 months after completing the series is advised for healthcare workers, and persons with HIV infection. No booster shot is necessary after completion of the three-dose series.

Vaccination Programs Must Target High-Risk API Children
- All newborns and children under 19 years of age in the United States are recommended to receive hepatitis B vaccination, particularly API children.
- Hepatitis B vaccine is free for children under 19 years of age through the federal Vaccines for Children program.
- Hepatitis B vaccination coverage among the high-risk API American children is an ongoing challenge. Completion rates for the first dose was 25-80% and for the three-dose series was only 14-67% in a 1998 survey of API children 4-14 years of age in six major U.S. cities.The cities with no vaccination programs targeting API children have the worst completion rates. Only one in ten API children now ages 15-19 have received their 3-dose hepatitis B vaccine series, in spite of national recommendations targeting these chi dren dating as far back as 1982.