Queenslanders encouraged to check in with their liver

Posted 28 July, 2020
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More Queenslanders than ever before are being admitted to hospital due to liver disease with a sixty-two per cent increase in admissions between 2008 to 2016. 

Speaking ahead of World Hepatitis Day (Tuesday 28 July), CEO of Hepatitis Queensland, Dr Katelin Haynes said it was time for Queenslanders to recognise the importance of checking in with your liver and keeping it healthy. 

“With liver disease on the rise and liver cancer now the fastest growing cause of cancer deaths in Australia, it’s imperative we recognise the hero inside us all,” Dr Haynes said. 

“The liver is the often-overlooked powerhouse of your body, performing over 500 functions. It manufactures, stores, and processes anything that you put in your body, including food, alcohol, medicine, or toxins.” 

“As well as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and using alcohol responsibly, we are encouraging Queenslanders to see their GP for a liver check and hepatitis test as part of World Hepatitis Day.” 

Every year, on World Hepatitis Day, millions of people across the globe mobilise to raise awareness of viral hepatitis, reduce discrimination in the community, and support people living with viral hepatitis. 

Hepatitis Queensland’s 2020 World Hepatitis Day focus is on liver health with everyone encouraged to ‘Find the Hero Inside You’. The campaign draws attention to prevention (vaccination for hepatitis B) and early detection (testing and cure for hepatitis C), particularly for those living with viral hepatitis and most at risk of severe liver disease including liver cancer.  

Because there are often no symptoms, people with hepatitis B and C can live for many years without realising they have the virus, unaware of the damage that is being caused to their liver. 

Dr Haynes says we have the opportunity to virtually eliminate viral hepatitis with highly effective treatments for both hepatitis B and C. 

“Queenslanders from all walks of life can have hepatitis B or C. However, people aren’t coming forward because they don’t know they are living with the virus, or are unaware of recent advances in treatment,” she said. 

“Hepatitis C treatment is simple tablets daily for 8-12 weeks with little to no side- effects and cures around 95 per cent of people. Hepatitis B can be prevented through vaccination or managed with regular monitoring to see if treatment is suitable.” 

For anyone concerned about exposure to hepatitis B or C, or if you’ve already been diagnosed, don’t delay, visit your doctor today or call Hepatitis Queensland on 1800 437 222.

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