University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer Among Asian Americans

By Jeffrey Norris | | June 20, 2012

Liver cancer is expected to become more common in the United States in coming years.  “It’s deadly and it’s preventable,” says UCSF physician and researcher Tung Nguyen, MD.

The cause of more than eight in 10 liver cancers in the United States is chronic infection with the hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus. Today the number of new hepatitis infections is declining. But just as there has been a lag between the decline in smoking and the drop in lung cancers, it may take many years before the trend toward fewer hepatitis cases and better hepatitis treatments leads to fewer liver cancers instead of more.

Nguyen — who emigrated as a child from Vietnam — is fighting hepatitis in Bay Area Asian American communities. Through outreach and training of key community members and through campaigns in ethnic media, Nguyen and his collaborators aim to help reverse the US liver cancer trend as quickly as possible.