A radio program promoting screening tests for liver disease most likely saved the life of a 52-year-old man from New Taipei City, who took the test after listening to the program and discovered he had a malignant liver tumor, which was then successfully treated.
“The man, named Chang Jung-feng (張榮豐), was born to a hepatitis B carrier father and learned that he was also a carrier at the age of 20,” New Taipei City Department of Public Health Commissioner Lin Chi-hung (林奇宏) said yesterday.
Lin said Chang had been oblivious of his condition for decades until March last year, when he accidentally tuned in to a radio station that was airing a program hosted by National Taiwan University Hospital honorary professor Sheu Jin-chuan (許金川), who has dedicated his life to liver disease prevention.
Sheu had been promoting a free blood-testing program launched by the Liver Disease Prevention and Treatment Research Foundation, which prompted Chang to get tested, Lin said.
“Chang subsequently underwent an abdominal ultrasonography after his alpha-fetoprotein [AFP] level — which is considered a liver tumor indicator — was found to be abnormally high, at 780 nanograms per milliliter [ng/ml], compared with the normal level of less than 10ng/ml,” Lin said.
The ultrasound found a malignant tumor measuring 2.6cm in Chang’s liver.
Since the tumor was detected early, the 52-year-old is in recovery after being treated with radiofrequency ablation.
Lin said that in 2013, about 1,600 New Taipei City residents died from liver diseases and 1,024 from liver cancer, which was the second-most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the city during that year.
“Hepatitis B and C are closely related to liver cancer. More than 80 percent of the country’s liver cancer patients are also hepatitis B or C carriers, who are 10 times and 35 times more prone to developing liver cancer than non-carriers respectively,” Lin said.
Lin urged New Taipei City residents aged 29 and older to join the department’s hepatitis and liver cancer screening program, which is offering free tests at Hsing Wu University of Science and Technology in the city’s Linkou District (林口) from 1pm to 4pm on Saturday.
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