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What does safe sex have to do with liver cancer prevention?

by , 16 April 2015

Yesterday, R&B singer Percy Sledge, best-known for his hit single “When a Man Loves a Woman”, tragically passed away from liver cancer for which he underwent surgery in 2014.

What caused it? That's hard to know.

But studies show the most significant risk factor for liver cancer is chronic infection from hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

That means by having unprotected sex, you could be putting yourself at risk of contracting liver cancer.

So what can you do to prevent this?

How hepatitis viruses are spread
 

Hepatitis B and C are spread in the same ways; through childbirth, contaminated needles and, most commonly, unprotected sex. Although a vaccine to help prevent hepatitis B has been available since the early 1980s, the simplest way to avoid contracting this virus remains to practice safe sex by consistently using condoms, for example. For hepatitis C, on the other hand, no vaccine is available. 
 
If you’re one of the unlucky ones who are at high risk of contracting hepatitis B or C, make sure you’re tested for these infections so you can be monitored and treated for liver disease if necessary.
 

“Am I at risk of liver cancer?” Here’s how to know
 

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that you may be at risk of having hepatitis B if you:
 
Have sex with someone who is infected
Have multiple sex partners
Have a sexually transmitted disease
Live with a person who has chronic hepatitis B
Inject drugs
 
The CDC also recommends you get tested for hepatitis C if any of the following points apply to you:
 
You have ever needed blood clotting medicine
You have received a blood transfusion or organ transplant
You are infected with HIV-Aids
You have ever injected drugs
 
If you’re high risk – but don’t have liver cancer yet – follow these prevention steps below:

 
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That's right - the real culprit behind 3 out of every 4 cancer deaths isn't cancer at all. No! It's a syndrome you've probably never even heard of - called cachexia (pronounced "ka-kek-see-ah").
 
 
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Prevent liver cancer through safe sex
 

It’s important that you take the necessary preventative measures against hepatitis infections to avoid liver cancer. The most important thing to note is that not only sexual intercourse spread hepatitis; oral sex can transmit it just as easily.
 
Many people with hepatitis B and C don’t realise that they’re infected, so practising consistently safe sex is the best precaution to take unless, of course, you have only one sexual partner who has been tested and doesn’t suffer from either virus.
 
Taking action against contracting hepatitis B or C may be the reason you too aren’t one day a liver cancer victim.

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