Liver Cancer Awareness Month occurs every October. In 2018, The American Cancer Society states just over 42,000 people will be diagnosed with liver cancer. Smoking and/or drinking increase the risk of developing liver cancer, but hepatitis B and C are the most common causes.
How Are Hepatitis B and C Contracted?
There are many ways people get hepatitis. Both hepatitis B and C are transmitted through sharing needles, unprotected sex, and from mother to fetus.
Hepatitis B may cause symptoms you’ll notice. Jaundice is one of the common symptoms. Flu-like symptoms that include headache, body ache, and fever are also seen with hepatitis B. Treatments can help cure people who have the disease.
Meanwhile, hepatitis C rarely has symptoms people catch early. It’s typically not caught until there is liver damage or liver cancer. Signs of hepatitis C include jaundice, itchy skin, fluid retention in the legs, bruising easily, lack of appetite, and tiring easily.
Some people are more likely to have hepatitis. If your mom or dad was born between 1945 and 1965, they should be tested. If they have a tattoo or piercing that was done without sterilized equipment, it’s another risk factor.
If your parent is diagnosed with hepatitis B or C, it’s important that they take the antiviral medications their doctor recommends. Scans of the liver may be ordered to see if cancer or damage is present.
What Are the Symptoms of Liver Cancer?
Some of the key signs of liver cancer are weight loss without dieting, nausea, an enlarged liver, and pain in the abdomen or shoulder blade. Jaundice, easily bruising, and visible veins on the stomach are other signs.
It’s best to catch liver cancer early. While the cancer is still in the liver, the five-year survival rate is just over 30 percent. If the cancer has spread to other organs or tissues, the survival rate drops to 3 to 11 percent, depending on the proximity of the organs to the liver.
If your mom or dad have hepatitis B or C, they’ll need support during treatments. Home health care providers can help with meals, medication reminders, appointments, and other aspects of elder care. If your parent has liver cancer, it’s especially important that you ensure they have help at home and safe rides to and from the medical center.
If you plan to be there with your parent, make sure you don’t ignore your own needs. Look into respite care services. Call our agency to discuss these and other home health care services that will help during treatments and the recovery.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care Services in Walpole MA, or anywhere in Eastern Massachusetts, please call the caring staff at CARE Resolutions – (508) 906-5572.
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