Mon, Apr 17, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Man’s abdomen lump turns out to be cancer

FUNDING:The National Health Insurance covers targeted oral drugs for people with end-state liver cancer, the director of the liver unit at Cathay General Hospital said

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A doctor on Friday urged people to regularly undergo liver checkups after a 60-year-old man who had neglected to seek medical help for frequent stomachaches and a growing abdominal lump was diagnosed with end-stage liver cancer.

Hu Jui-ting (胡瑞庭), a physician and director of the liver unit at Cathay General Hospital, said the man was infected with hepatitis B and also had alcoholic hepatitis, but as the diseases did not show obvious symptoms, he did not seek medical attention and thought the lump was fat.

The man fainted after a bout of severe stomachache and was taken to the hospital, where doctors found that a 5cm long malignant tumor had caused blood vessels in his liver to rupture, leading to internal bleeding, Hu said.

The cancer cells had also metastasized to the abdominal lymph gland and were diagnosed as end-stage liver cancer, Hu said.

“Undergoing regular checkups is the best way to detect liver cancer at an early stage,” he said, adding that there are no nerve endings in the liver that signal pain, so there are no obvious symptoms in the early stages of liver cancer, but a tumor can grow rapidly and even cause the liver to rupture.

About 11,000 cases of liver cancer are reported every year and about 90 percent of the patients are infected with the hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus, Hu said, advising people with hepatitis to undergo regular checkups.

Hu said many people are afraid of facing liver cancer or are worried about high medical fees and consider stopping medical treatment, but there are numerous methods to treat end-stage liver cancer, including embolization therapy, which can inhibit tumor growth, but requires multiple sessions.

Some doctors might prescribe targeted oral drugs, and the National Health Insurance covers targeted drugs for end-stage liver cancer patients who show no improvement after three sessions of embolization therapy and pass the agency’s review, he said.

Hu encouraged people with liver cancer to continue medical treatment and cooperate with their doctors and advised them to pay no attention to folk remedies.

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