Anyone born between 1945 and 1965 should be screened for hepatitis C.
Despite recommendations, only about one in 10 U.S. baby boomers has been screened for hepatitis Cvirus (HCV), a new study reveals.
Hepatitis C is a contagious virus that causes nearly half of the cases of liver cancer in the United States. Health officials estimate that about one in 30 Americans born between 1945 and 1965 (the baby boom generation) has chronic HCV infection.
But most don’t know it.
“Hepatitis C is an interesting virus because people who develop a chronic infection remain asymptomatic for decades and don’t know they’re infected,” said study lead author Monica Kasting.
“Most of the baby boomers who screen positive for HCV infection were infected over 30 years ago, before the virus was identified,” added Kasting, a postdoctoral fellow at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla.
But when Kasting and colleagues analyzed federal government data, they found that HCV screening rates among baby boomers ranged from 11.9 percent in 2013 to 12.8 percent in 2015.
The study findings were published in the March 27 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Women were less likely to have been screened than men. The researchers also found that among baby boomers and Americans born between 1966 and 1985, HCV screening rates were lower among Hispanics and blacks.
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