Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Hepatitis Health Center

Font Size

Incidence of Liver Cancer Expected to Climb as Hepatitis C Progresses

WebMD Health News

Death, according to the experts, will come from the progression of the disease, first to cirrhosis, a severe disease of the liver that prevents normal functioning and body metabolism, and then to liver cancer, known in the medical world as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Either one of these progressive patterns may result in bodily dysfunction and death.

Once considered a rare disease in the U.S., the CDC now predicts hepatitis C-associated mortality will increase two- to threefold.

John B. Wong, MD, chief of the division of clinical decision making at the New England Medical Center at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, tells WebMD that he used a computer model to check predictions issued last year by the CDC. "Our model confirmed the CDC estimate. We predict that 208,000 Americans will die as a result of HCV in the years 2010-2019," he says.

The price tag for hepatitis C during the decade 2010-2019 will be about $82 billion, says Wong. That prediction is based on estimates of approximately $10 billion in treatment costs and $71 billion in lost productivity.

Wong points out that hepatitis C is a "viral infection with a very long lag time from exposure to progression." The natural history of the disease takes it from fibrosis to cirrhosis to -- for those who don't die from cirrhosis -- to HCC, he says. "Our study predicts that 181,300 deaths will occur from HCV-related cirrhosis and 27,200 from HCV-related HCC."

That prediction is echoed by Masashi Mizokami, MD, who is a professor of medicine at the Nagoya City University Medical School in Japan. Mizokami tells WebMD that hepatitis C infection began to diverge in Japan around 1945. The virus is most efficiently transmitted by intravenous drug use, says Mizokami.

During World War II, the military government of Japan introduced methamphetamine to the soldiers to increase the 'fighting spirit.' As a result, intravenous use of methamphetamine grew steadily from the mid-1940s to the 1950s, he says. In the U.S., use of intravenous drug use became prevalent in the 1960s, so Mizokami refers to the year 1965 as the date for initial divergence of hepatitis C in the U.S. and 1945 for divergence in Japan.

Today on WebMD

Hepatitus C virus
Types, symptoms and treatments.
liver illustration
Myths and facts about this essential organ.
woman eating apple
What you need to know.
doctor and patient
What causes it?
Hepatitis C Treatment
Syringes and graph illustration
liver illustration
passport, pills and vaccine
Scientist looking in microscope
Fatty Liver Disease
Digestive Diseases Liver Transplantation
Picture Of The Liver
Image Collection