Hepatitis B accounts for 75% of liver cancer – GASLIDD

liver cancer
President of GASLIDD, Prof. Yaw Asante Awuku

The Ghana Association for the Study of Liver and Digestive Diseases’ (GASLIDD) president, Prof. Yaw Asante Awuku, has disclosed about 75 percent of liver cancer cases in the country result from Hepatitis B infection.

Currently, one in 10 Ghanaians has Hepatitis B with cases said to be on the rise, he explained, while noting that the mode of transmission includes lifestyle and mother-to-child.

Against this, he said, ongoing vaccination of children must be intensified along with aggressive awareness campaigns. More importantly, he said, people should be encouraged to get tested.

“For those diagnosed to be positive, there are avenues to seek care and prevent one from developing liver cancer or any liver cirrhosis,” he said.

Prof. Asante Awuku was speaking at of the 2023 Africa HepatoPancreatoBiliary Cancer Consortium (AHPBCC) opening ceremony in Accra, and also observed that liver cancer is on the rise.

However, he added that there is a ‘Stop Hepatitis C’ project wherein those who are positive are being offered free treatment at all regional and teaching hospitals.

The president of GASLIDD opined that it is important for the state to dedicate funds’ amounts for more research of viral hepatitis: “We are looking at eradicating viral hepatitis; so if we have something dedicated for that, a lot of academic and service institutions will tap into it and make it happen,” he stated.

AHPBCC 2023 was hosted in partnership with GASLIDD, and is an annual scientific conference organised to harness resources and expertise across Africa, the US and Europe to address gaps in research, medical education and training, and clinical care for patients with liver, pancreas and bile-duct cancers.

The consortium has more than 200 clinicians and research investigators who inform new strategies for risk prevention, early detection and improved survival of patients with these cancers. The consortium’s membership represents eight African countries, eight institutions in the US and four institutions in Europe.

The conference in Accra brought together more than 200 participants from across Africa, Europe and the US.

“This is training people and setting the agenda for the future,” he added.

Speakers at the three-day event included Dr. Manal Hassan from the USA and Egypt, who spoke on genomics and cancer risk; and Dr. Samuel Antwi from the USA spoke on the genetic epidemiology of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours.

Others included Dr. Yvonne Nartey and Dr. Atsu, Ghana; and Dr. Manal El-Sayed of Egypt, who talked about the ‘Stop Hepatitis C’ project in Ghana, among many other renowned international health practitioners.

Speaking on the second annual scientific conference’s side-lines, the Presidential Advisor on Health, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, disclosed that the ongoing ‘Stop Hepatitis C’ initiative is being supported with one million doses of medicines which cure Hepatitis C.

Touching on the conference, he expressed confidence that the platform will empower practitioners and complement efforts by government to tackle and eliminate Hepatitis C in the country.

He also disclosed that the Ministry of Health is planning to fast-track the passage of a law on organ transplant.

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