The CDC says an estimated 3.5 million people in the country have chronic hepatitis C. One local hospital is working to stop what they say is becoming a growing problem.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 3.5 million people in the country have chronic Hepatitis C.
Truman Medical Center is one hospital working to stop what they say is becoming a growing problem.
Gayle Hill-Suber is a Hepatitis C survivor.
"I was one of those baby boomers that had it -- had it, past tense," said Hill-Suber.
More than a decade ago, Hill-Suber went in for her annual check-up. She had always lived a healthy lifestyle and was surprised at what the doctors found.
"Years ago, maybe 10-15 years ago, I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C," said Hill-Suber.
Over the years, Hill-Suber said she had never experienced any symptoms, which Dr. Malek Mahmoudi with Truman Medical Center said is normal.
Mahmoudi said most patients who test positive are baby boomers.
"That's the patient population with the highest prevalence," said Mahmoudi.
Hepatitis C is a virus that can be contracted through blood contact. If it goes untreated, Mahmoudi said it will attack the liver.
"Over the years it can cause significant amount of complications which could lead even to death at some point," said Mahmoudi.
During May and June, Truman Medical Center will be offering free Hepatitis C screenings to anyone who wants to be tested.
"Our patient population is at a higher risk of getting Hepatitis C compared to other patient populations," said Mahmoudi.
Doctors are hoping to catch patients in the early stages and provide treatment.
"We used to be able to treat only 40 percent of the patients successfully, now we treat up to 97-98 percent," said Mahmoudi.
For more information or to schedule your free screening, click here.