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Liver cancer is common in West Africa. But knowledge about hepatitis B — the viral illness estimated to cause 80% of primary liver cancers globally — is rare. In Senegal, most families have a member who has died from liver cancer, says Noemi Tousignant, a historian of science and health at University College London who has studied West Africa since 2005. “Most families have some uncle, or a cousin affected. It’s very close to people’s lives,” says Tousignant. Yet hardly anyone speaks about hepatitis B in that country.