Early detection is possible with latest screening technologies and can prevent deaths, say doctors at Apollo Hyderabad.
It seems that most of us are aware of the common lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, but we have never heard about gastrointestinal (GI) cancer being mentioned in the same breath. It is the most prevalent cancer documented in India. Last year, 57,394 new cases of GI cancer were documented in India. It affects more men than women. GI progresses slowly as a silent killer, affecting internal organs such as colon, rectum, oesophagus, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, small intestine, appendix, and anus, etc.
From difficulty in swallowing, discomfort in the abdomen to persistent indigestion and dark stools with or without blood, most patients do not consider opting for the immediate screening of these symptoms. Most of these conditions are related to lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking, fast-foods and a lack of physical activity. As patients usually indulge in self-diagnosis, it leads to the advancement of GI disease from benign to the malignant stage making it difficult to treat.
World Digestive Healthy day
It is time to understand the importance of regular screening and keeping your digestive tract healthy. To understand its severity, the organisation, World Gastroenterology, celebrates World Digestive Healthy day on May 29 to initiate a year-long public health campaign focusing upon a specific medical condition, its symptoms, modes of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The theme this year is “Early Diagnosis and Treatment of GI Cancer”. There is a lack of insights of GI cancer among the population and there is a need to build a holistic ecosystem of medical care that encourages early diagnosis and supports the treatment with advanced palliative care.
According to Dr Naveen Polavarapu, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, Apollo Hospital, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, “The key to successful treatment of cancers depends on early detection, but unfortunately by the time symptoms arise it has already progressed. In fact, it is estimated that only 20% of the cancers at the time of presentation are at the early stage i.e. curable.”
Detecting GI cancer
With advancements in the field of detecting GI cancer, it has now become extremely manageable to detect the presence of malignancies in the early stages of the disease. Through Cholangioscopy, the cancer bile duct and pancreatic duct can be traced and will be treated accordingly.
GI cancer is a blanket term for various cancers in the gastrointestinal section. A patient may suffer from different symptoms and tend to have different outcomes. Hence, to improve the gastrointestinal health of the country, screening tests should be necessary at regular intervals. “Globally cancer is the second most leading cause of death and biliary and pancreatic malignancy rank in the first five causes of cancer. The idea is that early detection and screening can reduce the number of deaths due to GI cancer.
For early detection of biliary malignancy, there is a new procedure that is cholangioscopy, A good the thing about this is that it is a minimally invasive procedure wherein you can enter the biliary duct and get a biopsy to prove the presence of malignancy which is a very good technique for early detection of malignancy” Says Dr. Rakesh Kumar Adi, Consultant Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist, Gleneagles Hospital Lakdikapul, Hyderabad