Exposure to the hepatitis B virus increases a person’s risk of pancreatic cancer two and a half times. Pancreatic cancer usually has a poor prognosis, as in most cases by the time it is diagnosed it has already spread. There are several known risk factors for pancreatic cancer, these include:

  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Diabetes and Syndrome X (insulin resistance)
  • A high sugar diet, resulting in too much bad bacteria, yeast and fungi in the gut
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Obesity

Hepatitis B infects approximately two billion people worldwide. It is most common in Asia and Africa and is endemic in China. Infection occurs through exposure to infected blood or body fluids. Hepatitis B infection can be either acute or chronic. Acute infection means the immune system clears the virus from the body within weeks or months. Chronic infection means that the virus persists in the body, and this increases the risk of chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer by approximately 40 percent.

Researchers from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre in Texas believe that because hepatitis B is a systemic infection (it travels throughout the body), some of the virus gets deposited in the pancreas. Also, because the liver and pancreas are so close to each other in the abdominal cavity, inflammation in the liver may trigger inflammation in the pancreas. The researchers compared blood samples taken from 476 patients with pancreatic cancer with 879 healthy people of the same age and race. Having antibodies against hepatitis B in the bloodstream placed the patients at a 2.5 fold higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Patients who had both diabetes and hepatitis B had a seven-fold increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. The researchers also found that the administration of chemotherapy to pancreatic cancer patients (which weakens the immune system), can reactivate the hepatitis B virus and complicate the cancer treatment.

The majority of the risk factors for pancreatic cancer are modifiable, meaning you have control over them. Don’t smoke cigarettes, drink excessive alcohol or become overweight and you have a good chance of avoiding pancreatic cancer. This is vitally important for anyone who has had hepatitis B. Most people contract hepatitis B through unprotected sex with an infected person, use of contaminated needles or syringes,+6 and infants are born with the virus if their mother is infected.

If you have hepatitis, the following strategies should help you:

  • Take a good liver tonic – Essential ingredients for a powerful liver formula include St Mary’s Thistle, NAC, B vitamins, taurine, selenium, vitamin C and vitamin E. These are all found combined together in Livatone Plus. St Mary’s Thistle protects liver cells and supports liver detoxification. Selenium aids liver detoxification, reduces inflammation and fights viruses effectively.
  • Manage stress levels – Stress has a very detrimental effect on your immune system, and it can significantly interfere with healthy eating and exercise habits. Highly stressed people are far more likely to abandon a healthy lifestyle. Also, large amounts of the hormone cortisol impair the ability of white blood cells to fight infections. Many individuals manage stress through meditation, yoga, setting aside time each day to unwind, reading a good book, or spending time with a loved one. You may want to try taking a magnesium supplement which can help to improve the physiological response to stress and promote relaxation.
  • Try to include some movement each day – Regular exercise is essential for many reasons such as maintaining a healthy immune system and a healthy weight. It’s also great for your head and can relieve stress and anxiety. If you find it difficult to exercise because of pain or stiffness in your body, it is likely you are suffering from high levels of inflammation. Serrapeptase is a natural anti-inflammatory remedy that can relieve pain, stiffness and swelling.
  • It’s vital to get enough sleep – You should never underestimate the importance of sleep. Sleep is a critical restorative process for your mind, body and even spirit, and is important for immunity. Although it can be difficult to get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night when you are busy with work and family commitments, you should try to make sleep a priority. For more tips on getting a good night’s sleep check out the book Tired Of Not Sleeping. Magnesium and the natural sleep hormone called Melatonin may be beneficial for better sleep.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.

Reference: Hassan, M et al. Association between hepatitis B virus and pancreatic cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2008;26:4557-4562.