Vietnam’s first robotic surgery on liver cancer patient hinh anh 1Binh Dan Hospital in HCM City has successfully performed the country’s first robotic surgery on a liver cancer patient. (Photo: Binh Dan Hospital)​

HCM City (VNA) - Doctors at Binh Dan Hospital in Ho Chi Minh 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 August 9.

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.
[Robots upgrade surgery quality for Vietnamese]

Dr Nguyen Dinh Song Huy, deputy head of the oncology centre at Cho Ray 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 percent of 24,091 patients from 2010 to 2016 diagnosed with hepatitis. Forty-one percent 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 Vietnam in late July in HCM City, Dr Nguyen 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.-VNA