Monday, December 10, 2018

Timely hepatitis B vaccination is key to preventing chronic liver disease

Hepatocellular liver carcinoma is the third leading cause of annual deaths due to cancer

New Delhi, 10th December 2018: Most liver diseases are silent. By the time the symptoms appear, there is already about 50% or more damage done. In the absence of timely detection and treatment, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver sets in, especially in viral Hepatitis B and C.

Apart from this, in cirrhotic cases, tumor may develop any time. In about 70% of the cases, cirrhosis leads to liver cancer, which is one of the fastest growing cancers today.

An effective vaccination programme plays an important role in preventing HBV infection. It is known to decrease the incidence of chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or liver cancer.

The vaccination protocol
1st Vaccine: Zero day
2nd Dose: Between 1-2 months
3rd Dose: Between 4-6 months

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India said, “The liver helps in removing toxins and other chemical waste products from the blood and readying them for excretion. As all the blood in the body passes through it, the liver is unusually accessible to cancer cells traveling in the bloodstream. The liver is made up of several kinds of cells, due to which different types of tumors can form there. They could be benign (noncancerous), or cancerous and can spread to other parts of the body (metastasize). These tumors have different causes and are treated differently. More than half of all people diagnosed with primary liver cancer have cirrhosis — a scarring condition of the liver commonly caused by alcohol abuse.”

Some common symptoms of liver cancer include loss of weight and appetite; nausea or vomiting; enlarged liver and spleen; pain in the abdomen or near the right shoulder blade; swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen; itching; and yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “There are 4 main T stages – T1 to T4. The main factors that doctors take into account are the size of the liver tumours and whether the cancer has grown into any blood vessels in the liver. This may mean that the cancer is obviously growing into or around a vein or artery. Or it may mean that there is microscopic growth of cancer cells into the vein or artery wall.”

Some tips from HCFI
  • Limit the use of alcohol and tobacco. If you cant go for harm reduction
  • Consumption of excess alcohol is a major risk factor for developing liver cancer over a period of time.
  • Eat healthy and consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These are rich in antioxidants and prevent the formation of free radicals in the body.
  • Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. This will not only keep you fit but also reduce excess weight.
  • Get vaccinated for Hepatitis B.

Missed doses — An interruption in the vaccination schedule does not require restarting the entire series of vaccination or adding extra doses.

If the vaccination series is interrupted after the first dose the second dose should be administered as soon as possible

For those receiving a three-dose series, the second and third doses should be separated by an interval of at least two months. If only the third dose is delayed, it should be administered when convenient.

Longer than recommended intervals between doses do not reduce final antibody concentrations, although protection might not be attained until the recommended number of doses has been administered

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