Liver cancer causes highest death among cancers in Vietnam

Liver cancer is responsible for the highest number of deaths among cancer patients in Vietnam with the total number topping 26,000 each year.
A doctor examines a patient to detect liver cancer early at the Vietnam National Cancer Hospital in Hanoi. (Photo:

A doctor examines a patient to detect liver cancer early at the Vietnam National Cancer Hospital in Hanoi. (Photo:

The number accounts for 21% of the deaths caused by cancer in the country. The data was revealed by the Vietnam National Cancer Hospital at a recent event named “Correct understanding of liver cancer”.

The hospital said 90% of liver cancer cases in Vietnam were hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and 77% were men.

Lai Phu Thai Son, deputy head of the Outpatient Department at the hospital’s Tan Trieu Facility told Suc khoe & Doi song (Health & Life) online newspaper that symptoms of liver cancer were often atypical and easily overlooked.

Most patients often came to see the doctor for disease detection and treatment when the disease was at a late stage, he said.

It caused treatment more difficult and costly, he said.

Experts recommend people pay more attention to the issue of early screening in the hope of detecting and treating early.

There are liver cancer patients extending their lives for a dozen years thanks to early detection and timely treatment.

Ha Hai Nam, deputy head of the hospital’s Department of Abdominal Surgery 1, said there were some high-risk groups who need to be early screened for liver cancer.

People with hepatitis B and C viruses, cirrhosis, fatty liver, or having one of their family members contracted liver cancer need to be screened early, according to Nam.

If a person has contracted active hepatitis B and C viruses, he or she needs to be treated early to avoid the risk of complications into liver cancer because hepatitis B and C viruses are believed to be the leading causes of primary hepatocellular carcinoma.

People who have not been vaccinated against hepatitis B should be vaccinated as soon as possible to avoid the risk of infection later.

People, who are obese, has diabetes, and drank a lot of alcohol should also be early screened for liver cancer.

In recent years, the rate of people with diabetes, obesity and liver cancer in the world has increased significantly. High blood sugar and blood fat accumulated in the liver lead to degenerative damage to liver cells and causing cirrhosis, increasing the risk of liver cancer.

Nam also added that alcohol had the ability to promote oncogenes to develop rapidly, leading to early cancer. In addition, alcohol also damaged liver cells. When drinking too much alcohol, the liver's detoxification function would be overloaded, and liver cells were severely damaged, forming scar tissue, fibrosis, thereby forming cirrhotic liver rafts and liver cancer.

People who often use stimulants such as tobacco and coffee with large amounts for a long time could get liver diseases, including liver cancer, according to the doctor.

People who eat mouldy foods also have to be early screened for liver cancer.

Aflatoxins in mould are the most powerful liver cancer-causing toxin today. Aflatoxins cause liver cancer by causing mutations in the p53 gene. Mould often occurs in preserved foods, stored in a hot and humid environment such as rice, peanuts, soybeans, wheat and corn.

People who often eat meat contaminated with fluke also should be early screened for liver cancer.

Raw foods that are not carefully processed often contain many types of flukes, including some flukes when entering the body, would destroy the liver, cause liver cancer.

People who used or exposed to some drugs and chemicals, such as thorotrast and vinyl chloride, for a long time are advised to be screened for liver cancer because the drugs and chemicals could cause damage to the liver and lead to liver cancer.

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