Australian liver disease cases doubling

HEALTH advocates have called for more treatments for Hepatitis C as new research found the number of cases of linked to liver disease more than doubled in the past decade.

The Kirby Institute report showed the number of Australians living with Hepatitis C-related liver disease grew from 18,582 in 2004 to 44,630 last year.

It also revealed Hepatitis C was accounted for an estimated 690 deaths in 2014, a 146% rise in deaths since 2004.

Hepatitis Australia acting chief Kevin Marriott said it provided "compelling evidence" more treatments should be made available.

While many patients use Interferon-based medicines, proteins that react to Hepatitis C, they can have side effects, preventing many from using such drugs.

Kirby Institute Professor Greg Dore said without a significant improvement in treatment rates, "there would be a 245% rise in liver cancer rates", by 2030.

He said if interferon-free treatments were available; it had "enormous potential" to improve patients' lives.


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