~ Healthy Advice from PMGH – Reducing your Cancer Risk – Part 5 of 7 – Get Immunised ~

Take charge of your health and reduce your cancer risk. Simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference. It is important to get regular health check ups at your local urban health clinic to rule out any health concerns you may have.
Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections. Talk to your doctor about immunization against: Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for certain high-risk adults — such as adults who are sexually active but not in a mutually monogamous relationship, people with sexually transmitted infections, intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men, and health care or public safety workers who might be exposed to infected blood or body fluids.
Hepatitis means ‘inflammation of the liver’. Hepatitis B (also referred to as hep B) is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and is a viral infection that can lead to serious illness or death. The virus is found in blood and, to a lesser degree, in body fluids such as semen and vaginal secretions.
You can get hepatitis B by having unsafe sex, sharing unsterile piercing or injecting drug equipment, or engaging in other activities where the blood or body fluids of an infected person enters the bloodstream of an uninfected person. The virus may also be passed from a pregnant mother to her baby. In about 30 to 40 per cent of cases, infections occur without a known cause.
Most adults who have hepatitis B recover completely and do not require ongoing treatment. Children with hepatitis B are more likely to develop liver disease or cancer in later life.
All children and adults at increased risk should be immunised against hepatitis B.
Reducing the risk of hepatitis B –
Simple steps that everyone can take to protect themselves against hepatitis B include:
– making sure you and your child are immunised
– using condoms every time you have anal or vaginal sex
– avoiding oral sex if you or your partner has herpes, ulcers or bleeding gums – it is unlikely that you will contract hepatitis through oral sex unless blood is present
– choosing to have any body piercing or tattooing done by an experienced practitioner who follows good sterilisation and hygiene practices.
– wearing single-use gloves if you give someone first aid or need to clean up blood or body fluids
– never sharing needles and syringes or other equipment, such as spoons, swabs or water, if you inject drugs. Always use sterile needles and syringes.
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