Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month 2016 continues

May 16, 2016 MCW News - In honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, the Medical College of Wisconsin has created a series of video vignettes and stories that will be posted on InfoScope during the month of May. The vignettes highlight some of our Asian-Pacific faculty, staff and students and the contributions they have made. The stories highlight MCW programs that address health problems that impact Asian-Pacific populations disproportionately.

Asian-Pacific encompasses all of Asia, including China, Japan, and Korea; India; Southeast Asian countries like Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand; the Philippines; and Pakistan. The stories will be posted on MCW’s Honoring Diversity webpage.

Some of the health concerns that disproportionately impact these populations include stomach cancer, liver cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, cleft lip and palate, and type II diabetes.

Cleft Palate Team

Approximately one in 700 babies are born every year with a cleft lip or palate, where there is an opening in the lip or roof of the mouth or both.  Its incidence shows racial variability, with close to 1 in 700 Caucasian babies born with a cleft lip or palate, and babies with African ancestry born with it at a lower incidence. Among children born among Asian-Pacific Americans, cleft lip and palate occurs in approximately one out of every 500 births annually.

MCW doctors on the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Cleft Palate Team treat a number of Asian children with a cleft lip or palate, most of whom were adopted from orphanages in China. Word-of-mouth has informed prospective parents that an orofacial cleft, while it may appear to be a severe affliction in a newborn, is actually a completely treatable condition present in otherwise healthy and happy children.

These children come to the program at various stages of repair, and are folded into the team’s multidisciplinary clinic where they receive coordinated care in plastic surgery, otolaryngology, speech pathology, dentistry, orthodontics, prosthodontics, genetics, and psychology to address their individual needs.

John Jensen, MD, Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery, who is a member of the Cleft Palate Team, said they have worked with several families who have returned to China to adopt another child with a cleft lip or palate after their experience with the CHW team.

Liver Cancer Program

The Liver Cancer Program at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin continues to see growth in the number of patients seen as well as the services it offers to the state and the region. Approximately 300 new liver cancer patients are treated through the program annually, the majority of which are diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or metastatic colorectal cancer. 

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is also referred to as hepatoma or primary liver cancer.  If this cancer is detected early, transplant or removal of the tumor may be an option.  In more advanced stages, interventional radiology procedures offer the greatest benefit. Hepatologists offer screening to those at risk for hepatocellular carcinoma. Risk factors include hepatitis infections, cirrhosis, chemical exposures and race/ethnicity.

Asia has a disproportionately large share of the world’s HCC, mainly because of the epidemic status of chronic hepatitis B and C viruses, which leads to liver cirrhosis and increases the risk of HCC.

Mike Miura, a Japanese American who lives in Hilo on Hawaii Island, has HCC and was treated at Froedtert Hospital in 2014 by T. Clark Gamblin, MD, professor of surgery and chief of surgical oncology, and other members of Dr. Gamblin’s team. Mr. Miura had tests done near his home and then was directed by his son, Dr. John Miura, who is conducting research at Froedtert, to get a second opinion  from Dr. Gamblin. It took a long flight to get here, but Mr. Miura said the effort was worth it.

“Everybody on the medical team was so caring. It was like I was the only patient,” Mr. Miura said. “And from the first time I met Dr. Gamblin, I had total confidence in him. Froedtert Hospital was a long way for me to go for care, but it was well worth it.”

Mr. Miura is 70 years old and likes to swim up to a mile a day. He is so thankful for the care he received, but said one follow-up phone call meant more than others.

“After one month out of the water, post-surgery, I took a picture of my stomach and emailed it to Dr. Gamblin, “ Mr. Miura said. “ he got back quickly and said, ‘It’s all good. Jump in.’ So I did.”

(l-r) Mr. Mike Miura and his son, John Miura, MD

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