it's really hard to predict progression rate. why can they not tx anyway? if i had st. 3 liver damage i would tx as soon as possible, if you could. the idea is to arrest to the damage, thus preventing complications later on. i'm a st 1 and am on tx now. some would say not to, but i wanted to stop it before it got worse. good luck to you or your friend.
I'm an early Stage 3 fibrosis type myself. Just had a liver biopsy January 29th in fact. The doc that did the biopsy said I needed to be followed by a hepatologist skilled in the area of hepatitis C. So I got on the Internet and found the best hep doc in my area, and will be starting treatment next month.
Since the biopsy, I have had additional pre-treatment tests, including blood work, a CT scan of the liver, an endoscopy to look for possible esophageal varices, and consultations.
As a first step, it would be wise for your sister to get the book, "Living with Hepatitis C, A Survivor's Guide", by Gregory T. Everson, M.D. (Fourth Edition). Its chalk full of information that will help her (and you too) navigate through this somewhat complex disease, which, although generally slow-progressing, can in time be life-threatening if not appropriately treated.
I would also have your sister get connected to this board. The people that post here are not only genuinely interested in helping, they are hepatitis suffers in their own right who are either fighting the same battle, or are in remission as the result of treatment.
So welcome to the board!
Doctors will usually suggest treatment with stage 3. There is no way to tell how fast it will progress to stage 4 (cirrhosis). Could be ten years, could be ten months. If your sister is treated successfully, you can have every reason to believe that she will have a normal life expectancy, i.e. the same expectancy as if she never had Hep C. But even if she doesn't treat successfully, Hepatitis C is anything but a death sentence. Many here are stage 3 and 4 and are living productive lives. If for some reason, your sister wants to wait on treatment, at least make sure she is being seen by a hepatologist (liver specialist) who can monitor her liver damage closely. The worst thing she can do is just forget about it, even if she has no symptons.
Your sister is lucky to have you for a "lil Sis".
All the best,
I am a stage 3'r and I had no doubt I would treat. It's just too close to cirhossis for me to not worry and take action. Stage 3 is a pretty darn well destroyed liver already.
by doing treatment (I treated for 72 weeks) even IF I didn't succeed in killing off all of the virus - I gave my liver a year and a half break from the virus that was killing it. The liver is the only organ that CAN regenerate (unless you have cirhhosis then it cannot). I can't wait to see what stage I am at now.
Also - liver cancer is a big threat to those with hepc and doing treatment practically guarantees (really lowers the odds) that you will get this disease. Liver cancer is usually deadly.
I've had this disease for about 20/25 years and I am stage 3 however I could become stage 4 in just a year - or 5 or 10. There is no way to know.
Knowing that (out of more stages to go to before its extremely serious) I couldn't take the chance.
I hope you have luck in helping your sister to accept her disease and to do something about it.
You ARE a great sister.
PS (I didn't mean to imply stage 3 wasn't already very serious...it is).
I get tongue tied typing away while I'm at work so I hope that made sense.
I too hope your sister will get connected to this board. It saved my life and gave me the COURAGE I was lacking big time to do treatment. Without these people I have no doubt I probably would have quit - they literally cared enough about me that It gave me STRENGTH to fight.
Nobody said treatment is fun but it is doable and we DO lead very good productive lives.
In a way if you HAVE to have a major disease this is a good one to have - there is a cure AND you can meet some pretty great people in here who care.
Hi. I don't blame your sis for being reluctant. I was one of the most recalcitrant on taking the meds. As said before, no one knows how fast it will progress. I will tell you my story which I posted before. Mine did progress quickly.
I got dx 4 yrs ago.
After 2 years, I had an ultrasound and extensive physical. No enlarged liver or pancreas. Hiking, skiing, doing everything. I then started to get more tired as I did aerobic exercise. About a year ago, I got a biopsy and found out I was cirrhotic.
I had no idea. Everything else looked normal before that. In 2 years, cirrhosis, enlarged pancreas and slight aceties. This disease can progress rather quickly. I haven't had a drink in over 13 years and didn't drink heavily before that, I eat organically. All good things. No sugar, wheat, dairy. Very little meat. I was very surprised. You just don't know what can happen, or how quickly. The docs don't know because each person is different.
My doc said some people can have a low viral load and be cirrhotic, and some can have a high viral load and be OK. It's very individual. And progression varies in each individual.
Tell her to do her research and follow her gut on what to do. I don't know how long she's had it, but it sounds like many years being her condition. The virus wants to survive as much as we do, and it does take its toll.
Tell her to find a good doc. It's good that you are concerned for her, she'll need a lot of support no matter which road she chooses.
Best of Luck!