Thursday, February 4, is World Cancer Day, an annual awareness day for the disease. This year’s theme is “We can. I can.” More than 800,000 people each year around the world die from liver cancer. Both hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are major causes of liver cancer.

According to the World Hepatitis Alliance, 80 percent of liver cancer deaths can be prevented. To accomplish that goal, the group is calling for the establishment worldwide of comprehensive strategies to fight hepatitis.

“On World Cancer Day, we are calling for civil society to join together to demand that adequate screening and treatment is available globally,” said Raquel Peck, CEO of World Hepatitis Alliance, in a statement. She asserts that 300,000 liver cancer deaths per year are preventable through vaccination and that even more can be prevented through early diagnosis and treatment.

A preventive vaccine is available for HBV, but not for HCV. Highly effective curative treatments are available for hep C, but less than 1 percent of people living with HCV globally have accessed them. The high costs of new HCV treatments are a key barrier to reducing hepatitis, which in turn limits the prevention of liver cancer deaths.

Click here for more about World Cancer Day.

Click here for more about World Hepatitis Alliance.