Medicine Nobel Laureate coming to Vietnam

Health & LIfe, 4 December 2012.

In the framework of the visit to Vietnam on a series of event of the Internatinal Peace Foundation “Bridges – Dialogue Towards a Culture of Peace”, Prof. Harald zur Hausen, the Nobel Laureate for Medicine in 2008 thanks to the discovery of HPV virus (the main agent of cervical cancer) received Honourable Professor title in Hanoi Medical Univerity on 30 Nov. Here, he had a presentation “Fighting cancer – Challenges to Global Health” and exchanged with Vietnamese lecturers, professors, doctors and medicine students. Ass. Prof. Nguyen Duc Hinh, Rector of Hanoi Medical University presented the merit of Honourable Professor to Prof. Harald zur Hausen.

At the Hanoi Medical University, Prof. Harald zur Hausen was presented with the Honourable Professor title. He emotionally told: “It’s my honour to receive the title. It’s the honour that every scientist wants during their work. It also shows the University’s friendship and sentiments to me.”. Before that, Prof. Harald zur Hausen and Chairman of the International Peace Foundation- Uwe Morawetz had a cozy talk with Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, Vietnam Minister of Health. At the meeting, the Minister showed her pride with Prof. Harald for he had found the mechanism of HPV virus, contributing to elimination of the women popular cancer. Prof. Harald zur Hausen also hoped that poor countries could be accessible to affordable HPV vaccine to prevent the risk of cancer in

70% of cancers could be treated

According to Prof. Harald, more than 70% of cancer in human could be treated, the ratio of dealth due to cancer reduced, but the new patients continuously on the rise. Therefore, prevention is the best effective method and the rate of cancer can be reduced by 70-80% via screening, early discovery and early treatment of inflammation as well as preventions of cancer agents. Besides the factors of living environment, lifestyles, eating habit has great impact on increace of cancers in the world. Also in his opinion, there needs to have comprehensive and profound researches on this matter.

Some cancers are inherited but could be controlled like hepatitis B and C. These are popular in the South and East Asia. In some countries, 20% of population are infected with hepatitis C. Therefore, elimination of hepatitis C could lead to high possibility of cancer prevention. Vaccination therefore is considered one of the leading methods for cancer prevention. Research has shown that hepatitis B vaccination in children could increase 70% of possibility of protection against liver cancer. HPV vaccine helps to reduce 12-15% cancer burden in women. So, the two types of vaccines against hepatitis B and HPV are effective in cancer prevention

Reporter: Used to be the Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Cancer, could you please share your experiences on this job?

Prof. Harald zur Hausen: Before 2009, I hold the position as the Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Cancer, it is pleasant job. We had a number of researches on cancer in South Asia and East Asia. Many of which were published on the journal. The journal published clinical reseraches and data on treatment of cancer as well as the latest discovery in the world.

Reporter: In your opinion, what Vietnam could do to improve the cancer treatment and prevention of cancer in the future?

GS. Harald zur Hausen: The methods to reduce the rate of cancer must be carried out more, as much as we can. This should be done through health policies. In my opinion, Vietnam should also apply the HPV vaccination that Germany has done. Besides, we should educate the young generation to be aware of cancer prevention such as non-smoking against lung cancer. High priorities should be given to prevention. There need to have a program of screening, early discovery of inflammation and symptoms to prevent against cancer. I hoped that the youth will have more researches and initiatives on effective prevention and treatment of cancers to be shared among South East Asia countries.