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Fighting liver cancer

By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
September 14, 2012

CEBU CITY  –  In line with the observance of Liver Cancer Awareness Month this September, the Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center (EJACC) of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) encourages the public to have a complete vaccination for hepatitis B as a primary preventive measure for liver cancer.

Ronald delos Reyes, program coordinator of EJACC, said that 80 percent of patients diagnosed with liver cancer in Metro Cebu are infected with Hepatitis B while the remaining percent is due to excessive alcohol intake.

EJACC’s 2003-2007 data shows that there are 1,267 deaths from the 1,612 liver cancer cases.

“People will soon see the benefits of the vaccination. There will be a decrease in number of liver cancer cases, particularly in Metro Cebu, if all people will be vaccinated,” delos Reyes said, pointing out that Lapu-Lapu City has the highest number of liver cancer cases in Metro Cebu.

During the September 8 episode of “Pagtuki”, the official radio program of RAFI, delos Reyes said that Hepatitis B and C are the primary causes of liver cancer followed by cirrhosis of the liver, which is characterized as scarring of the liver caused by sustained alcohol intake.

He added that patients with diabetes, especially with hepatitis, people whose mother or father with liver cancer, and obese people are the ones at risk of developing liver cancer.

Dr. Monen Sarabosing, internal medicine doctor of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, also encourages the public to take preventive measures to reduce one’s risk of liver cancer.

These measures include vaccination for hepatitis B, avoidance of excessive alcohol intake, sex with multiple partners, and smoking.

“Liver cancer has a poor prognosis because it is often diagnosed very late in its course. It usually presents no symptoms not until the disease has already spread in the liver. Some visible symptoms include abdominal pain, especially in the upper-right part, yellow skin or eyes (jaundice), and loss of appetite,” she stressed out.

Sarabosing added that people should take care of their livers for it performs vital functions in the body. The liver stores nutrients that are absorbed from the intestine and filters out and breaks down toxic wastes in the blood, which are then removed from the body.

“Healthy lifestyle always tops our list of preventive measures. We should eat the right food with the right amount, an exercise for at least 30 minutes daily, and strive for a less-stressed life,” she added.

For more information on liver cancer and EJACC and its services, please contact 254-6351 and look for Gina Mariquit, or visit www.rafi.org.ph or www.facebook.com/rafi.org.ph.

“Pagtuki” is aired over dyLA every Saturday at 10-11 a.m. The program, which is one of the Knowledge Sharing & Advocacy capabilities of RAFI, tackles timely and relevant issues affecting the Cebuano community.