Hepatobiliary & Pancreatic
Hong Kong Adventist Hospital-Tsuen Wan Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Diagnostic and Treatment Center provides a cross-speciality liver one-stop health service, providing professional, one-stop treatment, covering diagnosis, surgery and postoperative follow-up, and referral to chemotherapy and electrotherapy according to patients’ condition.
All types of treatment are composed of specialist doctors and dedicated nursing staff, including surgical specialists, clinical oncology specialists, radiologists, radiographers, and dietitians, providing a full range of cross-speciality treatments.
All round service
Our hospital has always been committed to providing comprehensive services for patients with liver disease. Our specialists provide clinical diagnosis and are equipped with choledochoscopy, 24-hour laboratory and diagnostic imaging services to assist in diagnosis. The aim is to provide appropriate and timely treatment to patients with liver diseases. The specialist team also pays attention to the health of the liver, gallbladder and pancreas, and will regularly publish health information to promote the prevention of liver cancer and liver protection knowledge to the general public.
Liver Disease: Types of Liver Problems & Their Causes
- Autoimmune diseases
- Obesity or/and poor eating habits
- Reaction to drugs, street drugs or toxic chemicals
Common liver diseases
There are many types of liver diseases. The most common ones in Hong Kong include liver cancer, cirrhosis, viral hepatitis, drug-induced hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver and gallstones.
Hepatitis is caused by the hepatitis virus. Six viruses have been found to cause hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, and G respectively. Hepatitis A and E are infected by eating unclean food, while other hepatitis is transmitted through blood and body fluids.
Alcoholic liver disease
Alcoholic liver disease is caused by alcoholism. Alcohol will produce toxic metabolite acetaldehyde in the liver, which can damage the liver. It has the opportunity to cause hepatitis, alcoholic hepatitis, fatty liver, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer.
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
Inflammation of the gallbladder or obstruction of the bile ducts causes the bile discharged from the liver to not be smoothly sent to the duodenum. As a result, the bile accumulates in the liver, resulting in damage to liver cells.
No matter Chinese medicine, western medicine or chemicals can cause hepatitis. Severe cases can progress to liver failure and even death.
Cirrhosis is long-term sequelae of many liver diseases, and the main cause is chronic hepatitis B. Cirrhosis refers to the gradual fibrosis of liver cells, hardening the surface of the liver, obstructing the flow of blood and secretions in the liver, and causing permanent damage. Other causes include hepatitis C, chronic alcoholism, and certain autoimmune liver diseases or metabolic liver diseases. Hepatitis causes the death of liver cells.
When the proportions of components that make up bile are out of balance, gallstones may form. Common causes include poor eating habits, genetic diseases, etc. Gallstones can be divided into:
- Cholesterol stones
- Pigment stones
- Mixed stones
Liver Cancer is the third cancer killer in Hong Kong, second only to lung cancer and colorectal cancer. The early symptoms of liver cancer are not obvious. When the tumor gradually grows, the patient may have the following symptoms:
- Pain in the right side of upper abdomen
- Pain in the right shoulder: The swollen liver stimulates the nerves of the diaphragm, and the nerves here are connected to the nerves in the right shoulder.
- Loss of appetite and weight, nausea and drowsiness
- Lumps in the upper abdomen
- Yellow skin and eyes, itchy skin: The bile duct is blocked by the tumor, which causes the bile pigment to accumulate in the blood and thus jaundice is caused.
- Tea color urine and light grey stools
- Ascites (collection of fluid in the abdomen)
High-risk individuals and those with the above-mentioned symptoms should immediately consult a doctor and undergo regular examinations. Early diagnosis and detection can improve the cure rate of the disease. Liver cancer related check up include the following items:
- Bloodα-fetoprotein test
- Abdominal ultrasound examination
- CT scan
- MRI scan
The treatment of liver cancer is relatively difficult, mainly because when the patient is found to have the disease, the cancer is in the middle and advanced stages, which affects the cure rate. Therefore, prevention is better than cure. The public should receive hepatitis B vaccination, and people with hepatitis B virus should follow up regularly to detect liver tumors as early as possible. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor will generally recommend the following treatment methods to the patient according to the condition:
- Removal by surgery
- Trans-arterial Chemoembolization (TACE)
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Selective Internal Irradiation (SIRT) (follow up by Oncologist)
- Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) (Refer to HKAH-SR for follow-up)
- Sytemic therapy & Targeted therapy (follow up by Oncologist)
Pancreatic cancer has always been known as the "king of cancer" because its symptoms are not obvious, it is not easy to detect at an early stage, and the cure rate is quite low. Pancreatic cancer is the sixth largest cancer killer in Hong Kong. According to the data of the Hospital Authority, nearly 500 people die from this disease every year. The age of onset is about 70 years old.
The pancreas lies deep in the abdomen, behind the stomach and the large and small intestines. Connecting the duodenum, and is an organ of the digestive tract. The main function is to secrete digestive enzymes to help digestion, and to produce insulin to regulate blood sugar. The causes of pancreatic cancer are not known, but mutation and hyperplasia of pancreas cells may be the cause.
Most patients of pancreatic cancer are over the age of 65, and the other risk factors include:
- Race: The black people have a higher risk.
- Sex: men have higher risk than women
- Smoking: Smokers’ chance of getting the disease is 2 to 3 times higher than that of non-smokers.
- Abnormal sugar metabolism: Those suffering from diabetes mellitus have a higher risk.
- Overweight: Obese people have higher risk.
- Diet: People with a prolonged over intake of animal fat and poor vegetable and fruit consumption are more likely to get the disease.
- Chemicals: Prolonged contacts with pesticides, petroleum or dyes are more vulnerable to the disease.
- Infection with Helicobacter pylori: The risk for people infected with the bacteria is 2 times higher.
- Hereditary pancreatitis: Hereditary chronic pancreatitis will add the risk of getting pancreatic cancer, but it seldom occurs.
Pancreatitis: If it is not managed well, it will become chronic pancreatitis over a long period of time, causing pancreatic atrophy and fibrosis, loss of function, and diabetes. The cells of pancreatic fibrosis may also proliferate abnormally due to repeated inflammation and repair, which increases the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Consultant In General Surgery
Clinical Director of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Diagnostic and Treatment Center
(852) 2275 6888