The Philippine Star - - HEALTH & FAMILY - CHING M. ALANO For in­quiries, visit the Fuda Can­cer Hos­pi­tal at Unit 901-A Cen­turia Med­i­cal Makati, Kalayaan Ave., Makati City with tele­phone num­bers 0917775342­6 and 507-3426. Visit the Face­book page at Fuda Can­cer Hos­pi­tal Philip­pines and www.fu­da­hos­pit

Prof. Xu Kecheng, a renowned spe­cial­ist in gas­troen­terol­ogy, hep­a­tol­ogy, and can­cer treat­ment, and founder of the Fuda Can­cer Hos­pi­tal, was di­ag­nosed with a rare and of­ten fa­tal liver can­cer 11 years ago. From be­ing the brave doc­tor, help­ing oth­ers fight their bruis­ing bat­tles against can­cer, he’s now the pa­tient, fac­ing the Big C him­self. Af­ter un­der­go­ing surgery, he was surf­ing the In­ter­net when he came across an ar­ti­cle by a doc­tor from Tai­wan who re­viewed 81 pa­tients who got hep­a­te­c­tomy, of whom only 11 sur­vived more than five years. He read that these pa­tients who had cholan­gio­car­ci­noma (like him) could re­ceive “ad­ju­tant chemo­ther­apy with medium sur­vival time one to three months longer than the con­trol group with­out chemo.” But he told him­self, if spend­ing the next few months of his life meant vom­it­ing, los­ing his hair, los­ing sleep, and suf­fer­ing all those painful side ef­fects of chemo­ther­apy, he didn’t think he wanted it.

In an ar­ti­cle he wrote ti­tled “What we can do when chemo­ther­apy fails,” he points out that “chemo in­duces ge­netic mu­ta­tion of can­cer cells, lead­ing them astray, which makes those cells not only im­mune to chemo­ther­apy drugs but also more ma­lig­nant.”

The good doc­tor, who has gained a lot of fol­low­ing, also au­thored the book, yes, Fol­low Me to Fight Against Can­cer. So, now, let’s fol­low Dr. Xu as he gives some an­swers to some ques­tions on can­cer in this interview with The Philip­pine STAR. PHILIP­PINE STAR: What’s the worst liver can­cer case that the Fuda Can­cer Hos­pi­tal has treated so far?

DR. XU KECHENG: We treated a pa­tient with hep­a­to­cel­lu­lar car­ci­noma. The pa­tient had an 18cm tu­mor. He was told that he had three months to live. He went to Fuda for treat­ment and was given trans ar­te­rial chemo em­boliza­tion (em­bolic par­ti­cles with chemother­a­peu­tic drugs in­jected to the artery sup­ply­ing the tu­mor), brachyther­apy, also known as io­dine seed im­plan­ta­tion (the seeds are placed inside nee­dles and in­serted to the masses, giv­ing a dose of ra­di­a­tion), cryosurger­y, and oral chemo tablets.

We also treated a pa­tient suf­fer­ing from liver cir­rho­sis with liver can­cer. The pa­tient had sys­temic chemo and ra­dio­ther­apy while in the Philip­pines. He was told he had two weeks to live. By the time he went to Fuda, he was suf­fer­ing from jaun­dice. He had IV in­fu­sion to im­prove the liver func­tion, bile duct stent­ing, brachyther­apy, trans ar­te­rial chemo em­boliza­tion, and im­munother­apy. Are there more male pa­tients with liver can­cer than women?

In Fuda, there are more male pa­tients with liver can­cer mainly be­cause of their life­style. They are highly stressed, their al­co­hol in­take is very high, and most of the time, they lack sleep.

Why do can­cer cells metas­ta­size even when the pa­tient is al­ready un­der­go­ing chemo­ther­apy?

Can­cer pa­tients in the Philip­pines of­ten re­ceive sys­temic chemo­ther­apy. This type of chemo­ther­apy at­tacks even the good cells, which weak­ens the im­mune sys­tem of the body. Also some­times, the di­ag­no­sis is in­com­plete. In Fuda, af­ter the biopsy, we of­ten rec­om­mend a gene mu­ta­tion test.

Based on your own ex­pe­ri­ence, does chemo­ther­apy re­ally pro­long a pa­tient’s life? And how long?

Yes, it can pro­long a pa­tient’s life. How­ever, chemo­ther­apy alone is not enough. We rec­om­mend that pa­tients go through im­munother­apy as well. If chemo­ther­apy fails, what’s the next thing a pa­tient should do?

In Fuda, dur­ing the ini­tial stage of the can­cer dis­ease, we rec­om­mend tar­geted treat­ments like Nano Knife and cryosurger­y. Nano Knife de­stroys tu­mors with elec­tric cur­rent while cryosurger­y de­stroys tu­mors through freez­ing.

We also per­form tar­geted chemo­ther­apy treat­ment, which is dif­fer­ent from sys­temic chemo­ther­apy. In Fuda, the chemo drug is in­fused to the artery lead­ing to the can­cer tu­mor. Tar­geted chemo does not kill the good cells.

Chemo­ther­apy is still an ef­fec­tive way to treat can­cer, the main prob­lem is the side ef­fects. Sys­temic chemo kills the good cells and low­ers the im­mune sys­tem, thereby weak­en­ing the body. In­ter­ven­tion chemo or tar­geted chemo­ther­apy does not kill the good cells be­cause it is in­fused straight to the artery lead­ing to the can­cer tu­mors.

If not chemo, what would you rec­om­mend for early or ad­vanced cases of liver can­cer?

In Fuda, we nor­mally treat liver can­cer us­ing cryosurger­y, brachyther­apy, and im­munother­apy. How does this treat­ment work?

In cryosurger­y, a cryo probe is in­serted to the tu­mor. It re­leases ar­gon, al­low­ing the for­ma­tion of an ice ball that cov­ers the tu­mor. Once frozen, helium is in­jected to in­crease the tem­per­a­ture and re­move the blood sup­ply to the tu­mor.

In brachyther­apy, the seeds are placed inside nee­dles and in­serted to the mass, giv­ing a dose of ra­di­a­tion.

In im­munother­apy, pa­tients are given a vac­cine that can elim­i­nate the can­cer cells. Cells from the re­sected mass are iso­lated and cul­tured to build their tu­mor-killing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and are in­jected back to the body.

What’s the best way to make our cells healthy and fight can­cer? To boost our im­mune sys­tem against dis­ease?

I al­ways ad­vise pa­tients to avoid sugar. Sugar is the food of the can­cer cells, it strength­ens can­cer cells. What anti-can­cer foods can you rec­om­mend? You can eat any­thing but in proper mod­er­a­tion. Fol­low the food pyra­mid. ** *

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