The Asia-Pacific region has the highest prevalence of people living with viral hepatitis. In Singapore, the Liver Index study demonstrated general apathy towards liver health, particularly among those aged 25 and below, despite high rates of liver cancer and failure in the country. To illustrate, more than half (58%) of the respondents do not recognize that viral hepatitis can cause liver failure and hold misperceptions of risk factors and complications of viral hepatitis.
However, with medical advancements and awareness of its symptoms, more people are becoming proactive about this disease – including an awareness of how hepatitis B can develop into liver cancer.
“Viral hepatitis is a silent killer as there are usually no symptoms until the infection has advanced to a significant level,” says CEVHAP Co-chair, Prof Saeed Hamid. “Without diagnosis and monitoring to initiate treatment where indicated, in many cases hepatitis B leads to severe liver disease, so early detection is critical.
Hepatitis B continues to be the leading cause of liver cancer in Asia Pacific. By sharing the voices of people in this region who are living with hepatitis B, we hope to inspire community leaders to help drive hepatitis B elimination in every country.”
Sixty-three-year-old Chua Cher Joo is one of the people who benefitted from this awareness, as he took proactive steps to monitor his health. A four-time liver cancer survivor, he sought early treatment each time. Regular checkups at his local hospital allowed him to live a safe and happy life despite living with the disease for over two decades.
In this video, Mr. Chua urges people to take proactive steps to monitor their health so they can continue to be there for their families.