From the Queens Tribune:
During a “State of the Hospital” presentation at New York Hospital Queens, Director of Surgical Oncology Dr. Mitchell Chorost subtly revealed a little-known reality within the borough.
“We’re seeing an unusually high rate of liver cancer as a result of Hepatitis C,” he said, citing ethnic factors as the main driving force behind the spike. “A lot of people don’t realize that the problem is out there.”
Chorost’s findings, coupled with the 15th Anniversary of Hepatitis Awareness Month this May, bring a new urgency to raising awareness about this communicable and deadly, yet treatable, disease.
Nearly 80 percent of all untreated cases of Hepatitis C are believed to lead to liver cancer, according to the State Dept. of Health. The cancer itself causes 10,000 deaths nationwide each year.
According to Chorost, a growing population of first-generation Asian and Russian immigrants has driven an increase in the overall rate of Hepatitis C and liver cancer.
“These cultures are very close people,” he said. “They assimilate with each other and that’s how they spread these diseases within each other.”
It is a byproduct of a growing rate in their native countries, the doctor added.
“There is no vaccine against Hepatitis C. It’s a worldwide epidemic, effecting namely Far East countries like China and Korea,” he said. “These are patients who weren’t aware they had it in China and Russia and they came with it. They’re carriers.”