Then, in 2012, Jackson, who is African American, learned from his doctor that his dark urine was actually a sign that he had hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a serious infection that affects the liver but can have few symptoms.
Unhappy with his doctor’s bedside manner, he delayed returning for a follow-up after his diagnosis. When he did return, he got another stunning diagnosis from a different doctor.
“He says, ‘Marvin, you’ve got liver cancer,’” Jackson recalled. Untreated hepatitis C is one of the causes of the illness. “Before I get a chance to let it all sink in, he’s telling me what we’re gonna do.”
Jackson had a liver transplant in 2013. Recovery has been a challenge, he said, but now he’s reached a “new normal.”
African American and Latinos Face Increased Rates of Liver Cancer, Higher Death Risk
Jackson’s case is not uncommon. People of color have long had higher rates of liver cancer, and data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that the disparity persists.
The study, released in July, showed that death rates for liver cancer in adults (aged 25 and up) increased by 43 percent between 2000 and 2016.
Researchers also found sharp disparities in death rates by race. The rate for non-Latino whites was 9 per 100,000. Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs) and African Americans both had death rates of 13.6 per 100,000. Latinos had the highest death rates of 14.6 per 100,000.
While they remain high, death rates among APIs have dropped significantly since 2000, when the rate was 17.5.
In California, liver cancer incidence and death rates have also declined among APIs since 2000. Yet rates among Latinos and African-Americans have increased over that same period, according to data from the California Cancer Registry.
Just over half of liver cancer cases arise from well-established risk factors, like viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, according to Salma Shariff-Marco, a UCSF professor who works on the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry. Researchers, health care professionals and advocates are doing their best to screen, prevent and treat for those risk factors.
TO CONTINUE: http://www.calhealthreport.org/2018/10/25/people-color-face-higher-rates-hep-c-deadly-cases-liver-ca