Hawaii has one of the highest rates of liver cancer

HONOLULU (KHON2) – October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month and Hawaii has one of the highest liver cancer rates in the United States

The main causes of liver cancer are viral hepatitis B and C. According to the Hawaii State Department of Healthin the United States, new cases of hepatitis C are on the rise, increasing by more than 60% from 2015 to 2019.

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The DOH has reported that nearly half of people with hepatitis C are unaware of their infection. If you or your health care provider suspects a hepatitis infection, a quick and thorough test is the first step.

However, they report that one in three people with a positive HCV antibody test do not receive a confirmatory RNA test.

Hepatitis C is curable for most people within 12 weeks. But without treatment, about 20% of adults with chronic HCV infection will develop progressive liver fibrosis and cirrhosis that can lead to death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all adults over 18 get tested for hepatitis C, regardless of known risk.

Hepatitis C testing involves a blood test and can be requested through your current health care provider.

“Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc. (DLS) is proud to partner with the DOH to help our community fight liver disease and liver cancer through the Hepatitis C ‘reflex’ test,” said Mark Wasielewski, President of Diagnostic Laboratory Service, Inc. “It is only by working together that we can achieve a Hep free 2030 Hawaii.”

HDOH announced its recent partnership with Diagnostic Laboratory Services and Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii to encourage providers to perform “reflex” testing for Hepatitis C.

Reflex testing ensures that when an antibody test is positive, the sample is automatically processed by the laboratory to confirm hepatitis C infection using an RNA test.

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“By promoting the option of ‘reflex’ hepatitis C testing to confirmatory testing, our local labs are helping to improve the path to recovery for many people in Hawaii,” said Thaddeus Pham, Prevention Coordinator viral hepatitis from DOH.

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