Stopping a Silent Killer in the Underserved Asian and Pacific Islander Community: A Chronic Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer Prevention Clinic by Medical Students

School of Medicine, Stanford University, CA, USA.
Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention: APJCP (Impact Factor: 2.51). 01/2009; 10(3):383-6.
Source: PubMed


To assess and alleviate the burden of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection among low-income, uninsured Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs) in San Jose, California.
From 2007 to 2008, we provided free HBV testing and follow-up to 510 patients, 74% of whom were foreign-born Vietnamese. Patients were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen and surface antibody. Chronically infected patients who elected to undergo follow-up monitoring were evaluated for liver damage (ALT), liver cancer (AFP), and HBV replication (HBV DNA).
Overall, 17% were chronically infected; 33% of these were unaware that they were infected. Of those who underwent follow-up monitoring, 100% had elevated ALT, 9% had elevated AFP, and 24% had HBV DNA levels that exceeded the threshold for treatment. Patients who were candidates for antiviral therapy were enrolled in drug assistance programs, and those with elevated AFP levels were referred for CT scans. Uninfected patients lacking protective antibodies were provided free HBV vaccinations.
More liver cancer prevention in the medically underserved API community is needed, including universal screening for HBV and follow-up for those chronically infected.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major risk factor for development of end-stage liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver failure and primary liver cancer. There are now seven antiviral agents approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the management of chronic HBV infection. Despite the fact that there are between 1.4 and 2 million chronic HBV infections in the United States, fewer than 50,000 people per year receive prescriptions for HBV antiviral medications. This report discusses possible explanations for the disparity between the number of people who are chronically infected and the number of people who receive treatment. Explanations for this incongruence include the potentially large number of infected persons who are unscreened and thus remain undiagnosed, and lack of access, including insurance, education and referral to appropriate medical care, particularly for disproportionately infected populations.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2010 · Journal of Viral Hepatitis
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Patients with hepatitis B face uncertainty at diagnosis. Information and support they receive at the early stage of the disease determine their adherence to follow up and treatment. This study aimed to explore the experiences and needs of patients with hepatitis B at diagnosis. A qualitative methodology was used. Nine focus groups (n = 44) were conducted to explore patients' feelings and reaction to the diagnosis, encounters with health care professionals, and their needs. The transcribed data were analyzed using a thematic approach. Most patients were not prepared for the diagnosis and many felt anxious and distressed. This was attributed to poor patients' knowledge, doctor's emphasis on disease complications, and associated stigma. Information about the disease was lacking and patients wanted to know more about the mode of transmission, natural progression of the disease, complications, and treatment options. There was a feeling of "passivity" among patients because there was often no active treatment available at diagnosis. This resulted in patients defaulting surveillance visits and missing the opportunity to start antiviral treatment. Therefore, there is an urgent need to provide sufficient information and education about hepatitis B to newly diagnosed patients, break "bad news" to patients with sensitivity, address their emotional needs, and emphasize on the rationale and importance of surveillance and treatment. This may entail public awareness campaign, implementation of pretest and posttest counseling, and educating doctors on how to communicate the diagnosis and management to patients accurately and sensitively.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health
  • Source

    Full-text · Book · Jan 2012
Show more