VIRCAN launches campaign for World Hepatitis Day

CN Tow, masked guys
To celebrate World Hepatitis Day, UHN's Viral Hepatitis Care Network (VIRCAN) distributed masks in downtown Toronto, and the CN Tower and Toronto Sign were lit in yellow and red, the colours used for hepatitis C awareness. (Photos: Courtesy VIRCAN)

UHN's Viral Hepatitis Care Network (VIRCAN) celebrated World Hepatitis Day by launching the campaign "Get Tested: It Could Save Your Life."

The CN Tower and Toronto sign were lit in the colours used for hepatitis C awareness – red and yellow – to celebrate the day on July 28. VIRCAN teams distributed campaign masks along with educational materials about viral hepatitis in downtown Toronto, highlighting the importance of getting tested, especially during this pandemic.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the VIRCAN program alone, testing for hepatitis B and C has dropped a staggering 79 per cent.

"With all eyes on COVID-19, prevention, testing, and treatment for viral hepatitis has slowed dramatically," says Dr. Harry Janssen, Executive Director for VIRCAN and UHN's Toronto Centre for Liver Disease. "Also, screening for liver cancer in viral hepatitis patients has been seriously hampered and may well lead to a surge of patients with liver cancer in Canada and around the globe in the coming months.

"As we re-open, viral hepatitis prevention, screening, and treatment needs to be at the forefront of public health priorities in order to save lives and reduce unnecessary strain and costs on the healthcare system."

Dr. Jordan Feld, VIRCAN's Scientific Director, told CTV News in a story to mark World Hepatitis Day that "more people will die this year of hepatitis B and C, likely, than of COVID, around the world. And this is despite having a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B and treatment to cure hepatitis C, things that we do not have right now for COVID."

Watch the full CTV News story to learn more about the campaign and the impact that screening and treatment can have in saving lives.

UHN Cancer Education Program launches CANCER 360

Cancer Education
UHN’s Cancer Education Program launches fully open access course to empower cancer professionals around the globe with knowledge on topics not typically covered in training. (Image: UHN)

The Cancer Education Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre has launched a course designed to equip and empower future and current cancer professionals through a range of topics not typically covered in training or practice.

The fully open access course, called CANCER 360, incorporates experts from across fields and professions to share knowledge on cancer prevention, health literacy, qualitative and quantitative research methods, cancer rehabilitation, the impact of smoking cessation on cancer treatment and beyond.

Since its launch on July 1, the course has been featured by The International Cancer Control Partnership (ICCP), an organization that incorporates partners around the globe to maximize and support cancer control planning efforts. Read more on that ICCP story.

It was also adapted to be accessible to high school students through the Toronto District School Board, inspiring the next generation of compassionate well-rounded healthcare professionals who may be looking towards a career in cancer care. Congratulations to UHN's Cancer Education Program.

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