I have hep c and have been in remission for 8 yrs after treatment. I had a liver biopsy 2 wks ago and it came back stating that I have Stage 4 Cirrhosis. I do not drink and haven't since way before I even was diagosed with hep c. I have read that life expectancy is only 1-3 yrs and I am scared to death. I am 56 and not ready to pass away. Is it possible to have stage 4 cirrhosis and still have enough healthy liver to function? I am waiting to see my gastroenterologist, but would like to hear from someone who knows because all I am doing is worrying.
If you have had no viral load for 8 years, you are not in remission, you are cured. That means that your cirrhosis is not going to progress. I don't know where you read that 1-3 years but it is totally untrue. I still have my hep C, I am not cured as I have never been able to get rid of my hep C and I have had cirrhosis since at least 1992 when I had my first biopsy. What is important though, is for anyone who still has cirrhosis to be checked for liver cancer with an ultrasound or MRI plus an AFP blood test according to your doctor's schedule.
Welcome and congrats at clearing the virus! I'm at stage 4 and started tx. I was dx last year, never drank more than a dozen glasses of wine in my life. I went on a total liver lovin diet and feel strong enough to take tx. My research seemed to point me in the direction of "at least" 20 more years if I clear the virus and take care of my liver. It does regenerate. I have NO doubt that with good nutrition and lifestyle you can too.
BTW - I asked why some get cirrhosis and some don't. There is no conclusive data. Genetics? Maybe my DES exposure in utero? It is NOT a death sentence. I was given less than 2 years last fall upon diagnosis of hep c. My transplant Dr. scoffed at that and said, "You don't have an expiration date stamped on the bottom of your foot." Take care of you, Karen
What was the stage of liver disease you had before treatment?
Why did you have a biopsy 2 weeks ago?
As others have said, life expectancy only 1-3 yrs is not true. Period. If you cleared the virus and the virus was the only cause of your liver disease, your liver disease stopped progressing 8 years ago and your liver should be healing itself as best it can depending on how scared and damaged it was.
Your not having any symptoms of liver disease, correct? Fluid buildup in abdomen and lower legs. Internal bleeding. Extreme fatigue. Confusion, lose of coordination, etc.?
"Is it possible to have stage 4 cirrhosis and still have enough healthy liver to function?"
Yes of course. Many people with in the early stage of cirrhosis have no symptoms at all. It is only in advanced cirrhosis that the liver is unable to perform all of its functions and complications and symptoms appear.
Talk to your gastro about this. Write down your concerns and questions and bring them with you to your next appointment. Gastroenterologist do not specialize on the liver, so they are not experts on liver disease. If you believe you still have liver problems you should be seeing a hepatologist. Also you must be scanned and have an AFP blood test every 6 months for liver cancer and anyone who has had cirrhosis is prone to develop liver cancer over time. Especially if you are still stage 4. If your gastro hasn't be doing this then I would wonder about his liver disease expertise.
I was stage 4 when I had biopsy in 2004. Went through a yr of treatment in 2005 and relapsed. Was just going to start treatment this week and found I no longer have virus. What a sweet surprise. I feel great. I exercise, work FT Unless I was told I have cirrhosis I would never know it except even a sip of alcohol makes me feel poisoned. Stopped even that way back when I had biopsy. I have to continue with an MRI or US of liver every 6 months and liver panel including tumor marker AFP. We talked about a 10 yr time line back in 2006 but now that I have clear that has changed. Now I get to worry about if I saved enough to retire.
Think you should get on with life and be happy
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