University Health System awarded $1.2M to help combat hepatitis C

Officials aim to prevent development of liver cancer

By Dawn Jorgenson - Web - News Editor
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SAN ANTONIO - The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas awarded the University Health System with $1.2 million Wednesday to increase screening for hepatitis C and prevent the development of liver cancer.

According to UHS, South Texas has the highest incidence of liver cancer in the nation, largely due to hepatitis C.

Researchers said they have found that the baby boomer population -- born from1945 to 1965 -- had more than twice the rate of hepatitis C in the nation, with Hispanics also at higher risk.

Officials said the program will expand screening for hepatitis C, provide education to both patients and health care providers and develop culturally and linguistically tailored patient navigation that will work to eliminate barriers to care, preventing many new cases of liver cancer, thereby reducing health care costs.

The grant was one of only 14 awarded by CPRIT on Wednesday, with UHS being the only San Antonio organization to be on the receiving end. This grant marks the eighth awarded to the UHS for cancer prevention since 2010, for a total of nearly $9 million. Other projects included breast and cervical cancer education and colorectal cancer screening.

UHS officials said a 2007 passage of Proposition 15 created CPRIT, authorizing the sale of bonds to fund up to $3 billion in cancer research in Texas over a 10-year period.

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