By Gio J. Tanudtanud
THE SOUTHERN Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) aims to spread information and awareness to people in Davao on how to prevent liver cancer.
During the Kapehan sa Dabaw on Jan 29, Dr. Miguelito W. Lasala, consultant gastroenterologist of SPMC’s Department of Internal Medicine, said one of their challenges is how to arrest the rising trend of liver cancer cases in the country, including Davao City.
That’s why they saw the need to go on roadshows to educate people on the risk factors and also give them prevention tips.
Risk factors that lead to liver cirrhosis include drinking alcohol depending on the volume that is consumed. Other risk factors such as hepatitis B and fatty liver from obesity.
He said detecting the symptoms is also important, which involves timely check-ups like ultrasounds every six months and blood tests of Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) to see if they are diagnosed with liver diseases.
Liver disease symptoms are subtle and progressive to the point that patients cannot tell if they are at risk of liver cancer or not.
“Kasi nga ang pinoy mahilig pag walang naramdaman hindi muna magpa examine so pumupunta sa amin yellow na ang mata, malaki na ang tiyan, duon pa lang (Filipinos typically don’t go for a checkup unless they feel something. So, they go to us when their eyes are already yellow and their tummies are swelling),” he said.
Lasala also advised patients to avoid alternative medicines or supplements that negatively affect the liver and kidneys.
“For the longest time, matagal na namin sinasabi, avoid all itong mga herbal medicines. Why? Simply because you don’t know, we don’t know kung ano ang effect nito sa kidney atsaka sa liver because yun ang dalawa ang madalas na tinatamaan,” he said.
In 2023, liver cancer ranked fourth in terms of morbidity and ranked number third in mortality in the Philippines. January is Liver Cancer Prevention Month.
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