The country's health sector has seen progress in cancer diagnosis and treatment in recent years, experts agreed at a two-day seminar that began in HCM City on Dec. 1.
Speaking at the annual oncology conference organised by the HCM City Cancer Society, City Oncology Hospital, and Vietnam Cancer Society Dr Le Hoang Minh, head of the hospital, said globally there is increasing understanding of cancer, leading to progress in diagnosis and treatment.
The Government has invested in new cancer hospitals and wards around the country to fight cancer, a disease that claims among the most lives, he said.
Hospitals are being provided with modern equipment for cancer diagnosis and treatment, while more and more doctors receive intensive training, contributing to improvement in treatment, he said.
Bach Mai Hospital, for instance, performs radiosurgery using a rotating gamma knife (RGK) to treat brain tumours – which involves administering concentrated high-intensity radiation — treating, since July 2007, 1,700 patients. No deaths or severe complications have occurred so far.
Bach Mai also uses intensity-modulated radiotherapy for cancer treatment, something performed routinely in developed countries.
Army Central Hospital 108 performs laparoscopy-assisted extended gastrectomy with D2 lymph node dissection to treat gastric cancer, considered the gold standard in treating this disease since 2007. The method reduces blood loss while post-operative recovery time is shorter.
Prof Nguyen Chan Hung, chairman of the Vietnam Cancer Society, spoke about personalised cancer medicine (PCM) in which treatment is specifically tailored to a patient's cancer based on sophisticated genetic analyses, including determination of the cancer cells' complex DNA sequences.
Other topics involving diagnosis and treatment of cancer of the neck, head, liver, uterus, and breast were also on the agenda.
Globally it is estimated that more than 21.4 million people will get cancer by 2030 and 13.2 million will die, Hung said.
At the HCM City Oncology Hospital, the number of patients admitted with cancer increase every year, he said. It was 14,064 last year and 16,711 this year, Minh said.
The conference has attracted more than 1,000 Vietnamese and foreign doctors.