It wasn't until Alan's brother was diagnosed with liver cancer in 1999 that Alan went in to be tested. It was then that the deadly virus in his body, chronic hepatitis B, was detected. Alan had contracted it as a child, through a routine injection in his homeland of Malaysia.
He joined a clinical trial at Westmead to help treat the disease, but then, in 2001, Alan discovered that he had also developed liver cancer. Thankfully, this is not the end of the story.
Alan's cancer was successfully removed, and his liver has since repaired itself. Alan now has regular checks, and so far there have been no recurrences. His hepatitis B is also under control.
"I am very grateful I could directly benefit from Westmead bench-to-bedside approach to treatment," Alan says.
"I think the moral of my story is that people should have the necessary checkups often enough that it can be picked up in the early stages. I was feeling healthy and never suspected that anything was wrong. Now I can enjoy my retirement and my grandchildren. It's been like winning the lottery."
Alan retired five years ago and now spends his time cooking, adding to his fantastic wine collection and tending his edible and fragrant garden. He spends Tuesday afternoons playing with his grandchildren, three year old Adam and baby Matthew.
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Westmead Millennium Institute Liver Research
Westmead's Storr Liver Unit is an internationally-acclaimed team of researchers exploring the diverse causes of liver injury, such as metabolic factors, viruses, drugs and toxins.