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Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people are at risk of getting liver cancer from chronic hepatitis B

In Australia there are over 210,000 people living with chronic (long-term) hepatitis B.

More than 20,000 are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

  • Many people don't know they have chronic hepatitis B.
  • Most people don't have any symptoms, yet liver damage can still happen.

There are easy steps you can take to protect you and your family against hepatitis-B-related liver cancer.

Quick facts

  • Hepatitis B is a virus that can lead to liver damage and liver cancer.
  • Up to 1 in 4 people with chronic hepatitis B will die from liver cancer.
  • Vaccination can prevent hepatitis B infection and related liver cancer.
  • People who were infected at birth or during childhood are more likely to have chronic hepatitis B, and develop liver damage and/or liver cancer.
  • People with chronic hepatitis B can lead healthy lives. With regular tests every 6 months and treatment when needed, liver cancer can be prevented in the long run.

Download our Portable Document File (PDF)Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer fact sheet

Look after your liver: It's important for you and your family to ask your doctor for a hepatitis B test

How do I know if I have hepatitis B?

Ask your doctor for a hepatitis B test

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If you don't have hepatitis B, get vaccinated to prevent hepatitis B infection and related liver cancer

If you have chronic hepatitis B, get six-monthly check-ups and treatment when needed to cut liver cancer risk

If you're not sure if you've been tested or vaccinated in the past, we recommend you ask your doctor for a test.

It's important to ask your doctor for a hepatitis B test. Doctors may not include the hepatitis B test in their yearly health check-ups for you.

A simple blood test can tell you:

  • if you need vaccination to protect you
  • if you've been vaccinated and are protected
  • if you have chronic hepatitis B and need further care.

Australia's had a free infant vaccination program since 2000. For adults, the hepatitis B vaccine is 3 doses given over 6 months and can protect you for life. Family, partners and people in close contact with someone who has hepatitis B can be vaccinated for free. But vaccination won't protect you if you already have chronic hepatitis B. This is why testing before vaccination is essential.

Where can I get more information?

  • Talk to your doctor
  • Read more about liver cancer or you can talk to one of our cancer nurses by ringing 13 11 20.
  • To read more on hepatitis B testing and treatment visit Hepatitis Victoria or call the Hepatitis Infoline on 1800 703 003.
Artwork: Dixon Patten Jnr – Yorta Yorta and Gunnai. Read full artwork description