Program is training more professionals to treat hepatitis C
(NC) Did you know that hepatitis C affects at least 242,000 people in Canada – and it might be as high as 400,000? With very few unique symptoms, many of us don't even know we have this silent disease.
Early detection is essential for effective management of the disease, yet many Ontarians in remote areas don't have access to the expert care required for hepatitis C (HCV). Treatment is specialized and available from only a limited group of doctors. In a first step to address this gap in care, the University Health Network and pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd., have partnered on a program called Link-C to improve access to HCV care and treatment in remote communities of Ontario.
“In addition to equipping additional health care providers with the expertise to identify and treat the disease, the Link-C program also aims to engage and inform patients about the risk factors, symptoms and treatment options of hepatitis C,” says Dr. Hemant Shah, director of education at the Francis Family Liver Clinic of Toronto Western Hospital. “A program like Link-C is building toward a national screening program.”
Left untreated, hepatitis C can make a person very ill, causing scarring of the liver, liver failure and potentially liver cancer. If treated early, however, HCV is a manageable disease.
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