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VN’s first robotic surgery on liver cancer patient

Update: August, 10/2017 - 07:00
Bình Dân Hospital in HCM City has successfully performed the country’s first robotic surgery on a liver cancer patient. Photo courtesy of Bình Dân Hospital
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — Doctors at Bình Dân Hospital in HCM City have performed the country’s first robotic surgery on a liver cancer patient.

Doctors removed the left lobe of the liver, which contained a six-centimetre tumour, of a 59-year-old patient from the Mekong Delta province of Long An in late July, according to a hospital press release sent to the media on Wednesday.

Robotic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery that uses smaller incisions than normal surgical methods. The method helps to protect the liver’s main blood vessel.

The use of a robot also helps to reduce pain, bleeding, infections and the length of hospital stay.

Dr Nguyễn Đình Song Huy, deputy head of the oncology centre at Chợ Rẫy Hospital, said the centre had seen an increase in new incidences of liver cancer year-by-year, from 2,793 in 2010 to 4,069 last year. Of the figure, the male-female ratio was 4.48 to one.

Most of the patients were aged 50 to 60 , while the highest number of cases were from the Mekong Delta region.

Huy said that hepatitis B and C were the main causes of liver cancer, with 91 per cent of 24,091 patients from 2010 to 2016 diagnosed with hepatitis. Forty-one per cent of the cases were detected at a late, incurable stage.

Since liver cancer often does not show clinical symptoms, patients with hepatitis B and C should be tested for the disease, according to Huy.

At a two-day conference on viral hepatitis B and C in Việt Nam in late July in HCM City, Dr Nguyễn Thu Anh of the General Department of Preventive Medicine said that many patients in the country had difficulties in accessing diagnosis and treatment, partly due to lack of finance.

Around 3.22 million patients in the country this year were diagnosed with hepatitis B, which may or may not be treated with drugs, depending on how high the viral load is or whether there is cirrhosis of the liver, according to Anh.

However, only 43,230 patients with hepatitis B virus infection have been treated this year, she said.

Unlike hepatitis B,  patients with hepatitis C  must receive drug therapies, which are expensive. Of the 967,000 patients with hepatitis C in the country, only 74,000 have received treatment this year.

Deaths from liver cancer totalled 30,000 in 2015 and are expected to rise to 45,000 in 2030 if screening and lack of medical intervention continues. — VNS

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