© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued updated recommendations for hepatitis B screening to include anyone who is receiving chemotherapy for cancer. Hepatitis B is a viral infection caused by HBV and can be detected with a blood test. Long-term infection with HBV damages the liver and can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), and liver failure, which can cause death. HBV is spread by coming onto contact with body fluids (such as blood or semen) of a person who is infected. HBV infection can be prevented with a vaccine. Those at high risk for hepatitis B infection include:
- People who use injection drugs
- People with multiple sex partners or those diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease
- Men who have sex with men
- People who have sexual contact with or live in the same household as someone who is already infected with HBV
- Infants who are born to mothers infected with HBV
- Infants and children of immigrants from areas with high rates of HBV infection, such as Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific Islands
- Health care workers or other employees that come into contact with human blood
- Patients who are receiving hemodialysis for kidney disease
Infection with HBV can be treated with drugs called antiviral medication.