Hepatitis B and immunisation against liver cancer
Our mob is at risk of getting liver cancer from hepatitis B, or hep B.
Hep B is a virus that can damage your liver and cause you other health problems. The word hepatitis means inflammation of the liver.
Sometimes we don’t know that we have hep B but learning about how it spreads can help us identify if we are at risk. The hep B virus spreads through the blood and bodily fluids of infected people. It can be transmitted to others through:
- direct contact with blood
- unprotected sex
- use of drugs injected through your veins
- use of dirty needles
- from an infected woman to her newborn baby during pregnancy or childbirth.
Protection against Hep B
Immunisation is the best defence when it comes to hep B. Since the national hep B immunisation program started in 2000, there has been a decrease in hep B cases in our communities.
Every Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander child should be immunised against hep B. Children get four immunisation needles – one on the day they are born, one when 2 months old, one when 4 months old and one when 6 months old.
If you’re an adult, you get three immunisation needles scheduled over a few months.
There are immunisation programs in every state and territory and access to hep B immunisation is available at all Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Centres.
Yarn about a hep B immunisation with your doctor, nurse, or Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health worker.
You can read more about hep B in English and Yolngu from the Menzies School of Health Research.
See more about immunisation for cancer and other diseases
Since the national Hep B immunisation program started in 2000, there has been a decrease in Hep B cases in our communities. Immunisation is the best defence when it comes to Hep B.