Despite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, most baby boomers have not been screened for hepatitis C (HCV) – the virus that’s responsible for half of all cases of liver cancer – according to researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.
About 1 in 30 baby boomers – people born between 1945 and 1965 -- have chronic hep C infection, and most were infected more than 30 years ago, before the virus was identified. People with hepatitis C often don’t develop symptoms for decades, but rates of liver cancer have been steadily rising.
The virus can be detected with a simple blood test, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several well-tolerated and effective treatments for HCV in recent years.
For this study, researchers used data from the 2013-2015 National Health Interview Survey to analyze HCV screening prevalence in groups of people born before 1945, between 1945 and 1965, between 1966 and 1985, and after 1985. Although more than 75 percent of people infected with HCV were born between 1945 and 1965, only 12 percent of these baby boomers have been screened for the virus.