October is Liver Cancer Sensation Month. So, we asked gastroenterologist DR LUI HOCK FOONG for his insights on keeping our livers healthy and cancer-free. From liver cancer symptoms to the impact of fatty liver, there’s a quite a bit to learn on this subject.
4 ways to elude liver cancer
“The liver is an ‘uncomplaining’ organ – it doesn’t exhibit symptoms when injured until the wide stages, when constructive treatment options are limited,” explains Dr Lui. This lack of warning signs, of course, makes this type of cancer particularly dangerous. It’s currently the third deadliest cancer worldwide, and the fourth most worldwide cancer in Singapore.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing liver cancer. Dr Lui recommends the pursuit four strategies.
#1 Prevent hepatitis B virus infection
Conditions that can rationalization longstanding inflammation of the liver are major risk factors for the minutiae of liver cancer. Among these conditions are hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus infection.
Avoiding these key risk factors is key to evading liver cancer. Therefore, Dr Lui suggests getting vaccinated for hepatitis B virus infection. The hepatitis B vaccine has been “very successful in reducing the number of individuals contracting hepatitis B virus infection, thereby preventing chronic hepatitis B-related liver cancer – the world’s leading rationalization of liver cancer.”
#2 Know and tenancy your viral hepatitis status
Dr Lui moreover says it’s worth getting screened for hepatitis B, as most infected patients do not have any symptoms in the early stages. Screening for hepatitis B and C can be washed-up with a simple thoroughbred test.
If a patient does have hepatitis B, the good news is that it can now be powerfully controlled with oral medications, he says. These medications can be used to “switch off” the inflammation, which, in turn, helps prevent cirrhosis and significantly reduces liver cancer risk.
“Hepatitis C treatment has moreover undergone a revolution and can now be cured with just a two- to three-month undertow of oral medication.”
#3 Take steps to prevent fatty liver disease
Another risk factor for liver cancer is fatty liver disease, which occurs when too much fat builds up in the liver, causing inflammation. This inflammation leads to cirrhosis (severe forfeiture to the liver tissue), which affects function and can ultimately lead to liver failure or cancer.
Avoiding fatty liver in the first place can therefore be a key to evading liver cancer.
Fatty liver is most worldwide in individuals with diabetes, those who are overweight and those who lead sedentary lifestyles, explains Dr Lui. “These individuals should have a thoroughbred test and ultrasound to screen for fatty liver. Screening will pick up the 30 percent of individuals in society with the disease.”
If a patient does have fatty liver disease, Dr Lui recommends firsthand action, surpassing it progresses into chronic liver disease or cancer. While he says that drug treatment for fatty liver has seen only limited success, nutrition and lifestyle changes can powerfully reverse the disease. He recommends exercise three times a week for at least 45 minutes and maintaining a well-turned nutrition with limited swig consumption. To stave drunkard liver disease and fatty liver, he suggests consuming less that 14 units of swig per week.
#4 Get screened if you’re at risk for liver cancer
Dr Lui recommends regular liver screenings for individuals with chronic hepatitis B infection or liver cirrhosis.
“The most constructive method for screening is a six-monthly liver ultrasound. This allows for timely detection should liver cancer develop,” he says. “When detected at an early stage, small liver cancers have increasingly curative treatment options such as local ablation and limited surgery.”
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