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DOH Soccsksargen cites importance of ‘healthy behavior’ to fight liver cancer, viral hepatitis

Arjohn Gangoso, DOH Soccsksargen’s health education and promotion officer, discussed the importance of practicing healthy behavior to fight all kinds of diseases in an interview with the Philippine Information Agency’s online program “Performing and Informing,” hosted by PIA Sultan Kudarat information center manager Aida Agad on Friday, Jan. 12. (Photo: PIA Region 12)

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato (PIA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) in the Soccsksargen region has urged people to adopt a “healthy behavior” which simply means to keep themselves healthy.

The DOH has recently conducted a series of health promotion campaign to educate the public on how to prevent contracting liver cancer and viral hepatitis in observance of “Liver Cancer and Viral Hepatitis Awareness and Prevention Month” this January.

"Isa po sa [one of our] health promotion activities natin through the Food and Health Promotions Framework strategy ng ating [of our] Department of Health [na] ang mission po is to make people seek healthy behaviors as the right choice of everyone, everytime and everywhere,” DOH Soccsksargen’s health education and promotion officer Arjohn Gangoso said in an interview with the Philippine Information Agency’s online program “Performing and Informing” on Friday, Jan. 12.

Gangoso pointed out that practicing a healthy lifestyle and consuming adequate healthy foods can lessen the risk of developing such diseases.

"Huwag po nating isipin na punishment sa ating sarili ang pagsunod sa healthy lifestyle [Let us never think that practicing a healthy lifestyle is a punishment]. A healthy lifestyle is not a punishment. Tinutulungan po tayo ng ating gobyerno para makamit ang [the government is helping us to achieve] healthy living,” he said.

The DOH, in collaboration with the rural health units of the local governments in the region, has intensified its campaign against liver cancer and hepatitis B, ensuring to cover even the remotest of barangays.

“Through this, we implement different health activities in schools, workplaces, and communities so that we can help the young and everyone else choose the right food, para sa ating magandang kalusugan [for our good health]," added Gangoso.

He also prodded those who have undergone their initial hepatitis B vaccination to complete their doses to protect them from the disease, adding that it is one of the causes of liver cancer.

“As much as possible, kumpletuhin ang hepatitis B vaccination [complete your hepatitis B vaccination]. Para naman po sa mga karagdagang impormasyon maari pong lumapit sa ating mga health centers para sa kanilang mga katanungan regarding the hepatitis B vaccination [For additional information, you can visit health centers with your questions regarding the hepatitis B vaccination]," he explained.

Citing data from the World Health Organization, Gangoso said that liver cancer is the sixth most frequently diagnosed cancer worldwide, resulting in 830,000 deaths in 2020, making it the fourth leading cancer type in the Philippines and second in the list of cancers causing mortality among Filipinos.

Republic Act 10526 declares the month of January in the Philippines as Liver Cancer and Viral Hepatitis Awareness and Prevention Month, which aims to raise awareness and educate people about the diseases.

Liver cancer, or hepatocellular carcinoma, is a malignant tumor that develops from chronic liver disease, especially in individuals with cirrhosis or liver damage or those with hepatitis B infection.

Another risk factor is a chronic infection with hepatitis B that causes liver damage and injury, which accounts for 50 percent of liver cancer.

Unhealthy lifestyles such as consuming excessive alcohol, tobacco, and fatty foods can also increase the risk of developing liver cancer, Gangoso added.

He said that DOH, its partners, and other stakeholders will continue to provide the necessary intervention to prevent and fight the threat of liver cancer as much as they can.

Gangoso maintained that he believes that their consistent health promotions will help people come up with an “informed choice and eventually lead them to practice a healthy lifestyle” as the only way to keep themselves healthy. (AMB – PIA Region 12)

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