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Cancer Awareness Day Held at NYU College of Dentistry
and its College of Nursing

Theme is "Be Cancer-free" With No-Cost Hepatitis B Testing

On Wednesday, February 21, nearly 200 people participated in a full-day program sponsored by the College of Dentistry and its College of Nursing to offer Hepatitis B screenings and follow-up vaccinations at no cost to New Yorkers of all ages. Participants also received information and counseling on liver cancer, skin cancer, colon-rectal cancer, oral cancer, breast and cervical cancer, testicular and prostate cancer, and lung cancer, including smoking cessation. The program was cosponsored by the Bfree NYC Hepatitis B Program and the New York City Council.

Hepatitis B is a virus that attacks the liver. Only a blood test can tell for certain if a person has the disease, which can cause infection, cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer and death. Risk factors include intravenous drug use, having sex with someone infected with Hepatitis B or with more than one partner, having a job that involves contact with human blood, and traveling to areas where Hepatitis B is common. The good news is that if a person has not been previously infected, there is a vaccine that can protect against infection. The process requires three vaccinations over a six to 12-month period to take effect.

A special feature of the day’s activities was an educational workshop on Hepatitis B, which drew 111 participants, 76 of whom elected to have their blood screened for the virus. People who test positive will be asked to come back for no-cost vaccinations at the College of Nursing Faculty Practice.

There are over 1.5 million Hepatitis B carriers in the United States, with the highest rates found among Asians, Latinos, Caribbeans, Africans, and Eastern Europeans/Russians. Most people infected with Hepatitis B do not show symptoms or feel sick until it is too late for treatment. As many as one out of four chronically infected people die of liver-related diseases if they are not under a doctor’s care.

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