UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is bringing attention to newly updated guidelines about who should be screened for hepatitis B virus (HBV), the most common cause of liver cancer worldwide.

The new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation is simple: Everyone age 18 and over should be screened for HBV at least once in their lifetime.

To help spread awareness about HBV, the cancer center’s Office of Community Outreach and Engagement launched its END B program. It is funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Office of Minority Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“If undiagnosed, hepatitis B can lead to liver damage, and even cause liver cancer. Most people living with hepatitis B have no symptoms, so it is important to get screened,” said UC Davis hepatologist Eric Wai Chak, who specializes in liver cancer.

Spreading the word

The END B campaign includes print and radio ads in multiple languages (Chinese, Hmong, Punjabi, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese) with a universal screening message. The awareness campaign also includes social media.


Multilingual posters and flyers also are being distributed to federally qualified health centers, community clinics, and student-run clinics in the Sacramento area and other parts of the region served by the cancer center, extending to Merced in the Central Valley.

According to the CDC, two-thirds of Americans with HBV do not even know they are infected. Prior to the new guidelines, doctors tested people for HBV based on where they were born or where their parents were born, as well as other risk factors. But now, universal screening recommendations indicate that everyone, no matter where they were born, should be screened for the virus.