Interview with Dr. Naoky Tsai and Edwin Ramone

Dr. Naoky Tsai
Dr. Naoky Tsai
Edwin Ramone
Edwin Ramone

ANGELA:  The American Liver Foundation's annual fundraising dinner and entertainment extravaganza "Wok & Roll 2" is coming up.  The event features the one and only Jim Nabors and the award winning band "The Krush".  Band leader Edwin Ramone and prestigious liver specialist Dr. Naoky Tsai are here to tell us more about it.  What a clever name Wok & Roll. Wok, W.O.K. as in stir fry wok. How did this idea all come about?

DR. NAOKY TSAI: I think it's the current president Wes Yamamoto's idea because he is a guitarist for the rock and roll era.

ANGELA:  Oh okay

DR. NAOKY TSAI: He came up with the clever idea.

ANGELA:  Now Edwin, how did you get involved in all of this?

EDWIN: Through the liver foundation, it was put together because my wife recently had a liver transplant

ANGELA:  Oh my.

EDWIN: And it was because of the people at the Transplant Department, Dr Tsai, the staff, she's doing really well right now.  We just celebrated her second birthday. Lot of the liver transplant people have second birthday now, very fortunate that she got through with the way she did and the association is, of course giving back to the foundation. The second life that they gave my wife.

ANGELA:  Dr. Tsai, liver disease, liver cancer is very common in Hawaii, why is that?

DR. NAOKY TSAI: Well, we have several reasons for that. Number one, we have probably one of the highest prevalence or the rate of Hepatitis B in the nation plus, we also have other disease such as Hepatitis C, which is very common and number three, and it's coming up, is fat and liver disease. And I think that's going to be the first and foremost, probably in the next 10 or 20 years as the cause of liver disease. We have all three disease as the highest prevalence in the nation. We have the highest liver cancer, both the rate of the cancer and the deaths of the cancer in fact, that's number one cancer death in Asian American between age 30 to 50.

ANGELA:  Now we often call it a silent disease because we often don't find out about it until it's well progressed because liver doesn't give you any pain or a lot of symptoms. What would you recommend to people out there as far as getting checked up with their doctor and making sure they know what condition their liver is in?

DR. NAOKY TSAI: Well I think there are more and more awareness and education that's delivered to the family physicians and I think through this program hopefully we can catch attention to the audience that it is indeed a silent disease because it don't affect you until at the end. I usually like to use termites because you have termites in your house you don't know about it until the whole house collapse. And same thing, and the best way to do is to check it.  It's what we call preventive medicine and your doctor knows exactly what to do to make sure you don't have those liver disease.

ANGELA:  So ask your doctor to check for Hepatitis and any kind of blood or lab test that would give you some kind of signs. Edwin, how did you now when your wife's liver was failing?

EDWIN: Exactly what Dr Tsai said. We did not know. Sylvia, my wife went for treatment of another symptom but after the blood came back, they notice that there was a discrepancy and immediately, they put us in contact with the liver transplant department.


EDWIN: So it is a silent disease and everybody should be aware of it through some kind of testing, which is important.

ANGELA:  Well, let's take a look at the information so people can participate and get involved, is "The Krush going to be there, you're going to be there?

EDWIN: We will.

ANGELA:  You'll be there and Jim Nabors as well so it's an all star lineup and Jim Nabors is going to actually be the Honorary Event Chair.  He'll be with us on KHNL today on March 19th. "Wok and Roll" is on Saturday, March 24th at the Dole Cannery Square Ballroom. The event will begin with a silent auction, I've always love those, at 5:30 PM and you can find ticket information on our website.  Dr Tsai and Edwin, thank you so much for joining us this morning.