Cancer Council Victoria welcomes the Victorian Government's
new strategies to improve outcomes for the 218,000 Australians  living with hepatitis B and 230,000 Australians  living
with hepatitis C.
Hepatitis B and C are the leading causes of primary
liver cancer in Australia.
221 of the liver cancers diagnosed in 2010 were
attributable to the hepatitis B virus (16 per cent of all liver cancers) and a
further 262 cases to hepatitis C (19 per cent) .
In total, 34 per cent of liver cancers were
attributable to infections with these viruses.
The government's strategies announced today on World
Hepatitis Day are expected to improve hepatitis prevention, testing, treatment
and care and end stigma for people seeking testing or treatment.
Cancer Council Victoria congratulated the government on its
commitment to reduce the incidence of hepatitis B and C in Victoria.
"A significant proportion of
people living with hepatitis B and C in Australia are undiagnosed and many show
no obvious symptoms," said Ms Chris Enright, Manager of Priority Populations at
Cancer Council Victoria.
"It's concerning because
without medical intervention, people with hepatitis B and C have a much higher
risk of developing serious liver complications or dying from liver cancer.
"Two-in-five cases of hepatitis B in Australia are
undiagnosed and without medical intervention, one in four people living with
chronic hepatitis B will die from liver cirrhosis or liver cancer ."
Parliamentary Secretary for Health Mary-Anne Thomas said the
Andrews Labor Government has set a bold goal of eliminating hepatitis B and C
by 2030 with ambitious targets that exceed those set by the World Health
"The two landmark strategies are a roadmap for eliminating
the burden of viral hepatitis in Victoria through prevention initiatives, more
testing and treatment and reducing stigma and discrimination of the disease,"
Ms Thomas said.
Ms Enright thanked the government for taking action that will provide the framework for
investment into the future.
"Liver cancer incidences are increasing in Australia and
around the world , but this rise can be stopped through preventing and treating hepatitis ,"
World Hepatitis Day (28 July) is an initiative of the World
Health Organization (WHO).
WHO has adopted the first-ever global hepatitis strategy with
a goal to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.
For more information about hepatitis B and liver cancer visit
Details about World Hepatitis Day are available at worldhepatitisday.org.au/
- ‘Cancers in Australia in 2010 attributable to
infectious agents,' Aust N Z J Public Health. 2015 Oct; 39(5): 446-451.
Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4606775/
- Cancer Council Victoria. Cancer Facts: Liver cancer in
Victoria. May 2016