7 myths and misconceptions about hepatitis

More than 500,000 people die from this deadly disease every year.
Unfortunately, awareness of the link between viral infection and the growth of liver cancer remains low, and myths and misconceptions about this disease are still widespread. For this reason, Bayer HealthCare supports the annual Hepatitis Day, which from this year falls on July 28 (until now it was May 19). The World Day is organized by the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) to raise awareness of the symptoms and long-term effects of hepatitis, as well as to inform about prevention and treatment options. The Alliance also aims to make the public think about chronic viral infection as a risk factor for liver cancer and emphasize the importance of vaccination, testing and early detection.

Hepatitis B is transmitted by eating contaminated food.

There are five main types of viral hepatitis – A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A and E are usually caused by eating contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C, and D are transmitted by infected blood or body fluids (e.g. saliva, semen, etc.) and, if left untreated, can lead to primary liver tumors. Therefore, hepatitis B is transmitted mainly through blood or, for example, during unprotected sexual intercourse, and not through infected food, whether it is eating the same food with an infected person, hugging, kissing, or shaking hands with a patient.

Patients infected with hepatitis, but showing no symptoms and having normal liver tests, are healthy.

Although many patients with chronic hepatitis B often have no symptoms at first, they should still be aware of their infection and seek adequate treatment. Without regular monitoring of the disease, every fourth chronic HBV patient dies either from cirrhosis or liver cancer. Therefore, it is important that liver damage and possible tumor growth are regularly checked by ultrasound every six months.

Hepatitis B is no longer dying today

Statistics show that about a million people worldwide die from HBV every year and more than 500,000 people die from liver cancer. Patients are often diagnosed late, so existing treatment options may not be effective. Many people feel healthy even in the early stages of liver cancer when the tumor can grow in them without their knowledge. When the first symptoms appear, it is often a disease in the late stages.

There is no way to prevent primary liver cancer.

The hepatitis B vaccine can help prevent the development of liver cancer and thereby eliminate the possibility of infection by contact with HBV. Given that more than 80 percent of cancer cases are caused by so-called “Silent Infection”, infection prevention reduces the risk of liver cancer.

If a person comes into contact with hepatitis B, cancer will be an inevitable complication liver.

Regular blood tests and sonographic studies allow you to detect possible liver damage and initial tumor in time. It can also speed up the start of treatment and prevent the further spread of infection.

A malignant liver tumor is caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

Drinking alcohol does not automatically cause cancer to grow, but it can damage the liver. However, patients with a history of increased alcohol consumption and chronic hepatitis have an increased risk of developing liver diseases, such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), which is a major risk factor for liver cancer.

Children born to mothers with chronic HBV infection will also be infected.

Mothers can protect their newborns from HBV infection if they
are injected with hepatitis B immunoglobulin and the first dose of the vaccine within the first twelve hours after birth. According to the World Health Organization, vaccination “induces protective antibody levels in more than 95 percent of infants, children, and adolescents.” The virus is not transmitted through breastfeeding or normal social contact, such as kissing or hugging.

 

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