Dr. Hwan Yoo of The Institute For Digestive Health and Liver Disease Talks About Dietary Links to Liver Cancer

April 23, 2020
Dr. Hwan Yoo - Mercy Medical Center

Hwan Y. Yoo, M.D., Ph.D., is an experienced liver specialist at The Center for Liver and Hepatobiliary Diseases, part of The Melissa L. Posner Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Yoo was recently interviewed for an article regarding liver cancer and diet for the website, LiveStrong.com. Here are his insights…

Based on your research and experience, does diet play any role in liver cancer whatsoever?
Epidemiological evidence suggested relationship between diet and cancer in general.  The data to link the causal relationship, or even the association, between the diet and development of HCC are lacking or relatively a few, and only present as an observational studies. Food component such as Aflaxtoxin  in certain ethnic group was reported to be associated with increased risk of liver cancer. Increased consumption of fatty acids correlates with the progression of cirrhosis and fibrosis, leading to higher risk of liver cancer.

Can you potentially prevent or treat liver cancer based on components in your diet?
There is no current definition of healthy eating for this purpose.  There may be protective role of vegetables, fruits and cereals in general cancer prevention.  Also higher intakes of white meat or fish, vegetables, fruits, cereals, eggs, milk and yogurt have been reported to decrease HCC development.  Flavonoids appear to reduce the risk of HCC, but pharmacological doses might be required in order to effectively protect against carcinogenesis.

Are there any foods that you should avoid to prevent liver cancer or if you have liver cancer?
High intakes of red meat and dietary sugar should be avoided in at-risk populations.  Red meat and dietary sugar consumption intake associates with chronic liver disease mortality and liver cancer risk, hence their intake should be monitored and controlled in at-risk populations to attempt to slow down HCC development. 


Hwan Y. Yoo, M.D. - Board Certified in Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine, Dr. Yoo diagnoses acute and chronic liver disorders and offers some of the best advanced therapies as treatment options. Dr. Yoo is skilled at performing various endoscopy procedures to help diagnose and treat liver and biliary diseases. To learn more about Dr. Yoo - The Center for Liver and Hepatobiliary Disease.


Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: dcollins@mdmercy.com Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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