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International Liver Research Community United Behind World Gastroenterology Organisation Action

BOSTON, Nov. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The World Gastroenterology Organisation declared hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to be the major health issue on which it will focus in 2013. HCC is the number five cause of death worldwide and the number three cause of cancer deaths worldwide, with approximately 625,000 new cases each year. The WGO reported there were 700,000 deaths worldwide in 2008, and eight out of ten of those deaths occurred in developing countries. Unfortunately, the mortality rate is nearly 100 percent. A diagnosis of HCC almost always results in death within five years as a five-year survival rate is only 5 percent. HCC is almost always related to underlying liver disease such as chronic viral hepatitis and cirrhosis. Those causes are both preventable and curable. HCC is the number one killer in an increasing number of low-resource countries.

A consortium of international liver research societies met in Boston, Massachusetts, at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). AASLD is one of seven societies who supported the WGO in this initiative. The other six societies are the European Association for the Study of Liver, Asian Pacific Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, Latin American Association for the Study of the Liver, Mexican Association of Hepatology, African Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, and Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver.

Greater awareness of HCC may lead to lower mortality rates because of implementation of strategies for prevention such as vaccination for hepatitis B and antiviral treatment of hepatitis B and C. Furthermore, regular surveillance of patients with liver disease may lead to early detection with better options for treatment. Greater awareness among all physicians of the risks of HCC and the benefits of early detection is essential in addressing a major global medical threat. "Diagnosis at an earlier stage allows for potential curative treatments to be used," said Dr. Guadalupe Garcia-Tsao, AASLD President for 2012. "We know that if HCC or cirrhosis remains undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated, the potential for the disease to progress unchecked to HCC is too great. We also are too painfully aware that a progression to HCC limits our abilities to treat and cure patients."

The World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) is a federation of 108 national societies and 4 regional associations of gastroenterology representing more than 50,000 individual members worldwide. Formed in 1935 and incorporated in 1958, WGO focuses on the improvement of standards in gastroenterology training and education on a global scale.

The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases is the leading medical organization for advancing the science and practice of hepatology. Founded by physicians in 1950, AASLD's vision is to prevent and cure liver diseases.

Visit the WGO online at

Media Contact: Gregory Bologna
Press Room: November 10 – 13, 2012
Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA
Telephone: 617-954-2624

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SOURCE American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)
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