World Hepatitis Alliance raise awareness of viral hepatitis on World Hepatitis Day as research shows hepatitis B and C cause significantly higher cancer risk than smoking a daily pack of cigarettes


LONDON, July 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Today, World Hepatitis Day (WHD) launches with the call to action ‘We’re not waiting’. On WHD, the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) joins together with its global network of 323 members in over 100 countries to lead the campaign internationally to accelerate the fight against viral hepatitis, one of the most deadly and neglected diseases and health crises – one that is claiming a life every 30 seconds.

New research presented at the EASL Congress by the Center for Disease Analysis (CDA) Foundation1 found that hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) viruses are highly oncogenic leading to cancers in multiple organs and sites. The report finds that hepatitis B and C infected individuals “have a similar or significantly higher risk of developing cancer than someone who actively smokes one pack of cigarettes per day.” It concludes that HBV and HCV should be “considered as cancer causing infections and international guidelines should be reconsidered accordingly.”

A recent survey2 from WHA found that nearly half (42%) of people globally are unaware that one of the leading causes of liver cancer is viral hepatitis. Nearly three quarters (74%) of those surveyed say knowing hepatitis causes liver cancer means they are more likely to get tested and over four fifths (82%) say they are more likely to get vaccinated.


Globally, over 350 million people live with hepatitis B or C3, causing more than 1.1 million lives to be lost each year4. By 2040, deaths from viral hepatitis are expected to exceed mortality from HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis combined5.

Danjuma Adda, President, World Hepatitis Alliance says: 

“Every year, more than a million lives are lost to hepatitis. The theme of World Hepatitis Day 2023 is ‘We’re not waiting’. It’s a call to accelerate elimination efforts of viral hepatitis now and the urgent need for testing and treatment for the real people who need it. Individuals and communities around the world are making change happen in their own lives and in world around them. We celebrate them, while demanding more action. We’re not waiting for change – we’re fighting to make it happen.

Homie Razavi, Managing Director, CDA Foundation says:

“Hepatitis B and C infections are silent epidemics. These viral infections are cancer causing but since infected individuals don’t show any symptoms until it is too late, most infections go unnoticed. It is important for all of us to recognize the high risk of cancer associated with hepatitis B and C infection and get patients linked to care. Treatment can reduce the risk of cancer by 85% or more.”

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Media contact: Tajinder Tiwana, +44(0)7715339193, [email protected]

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