Precautions to be Taken Against Digestive System Cancers

Precautions to be Taken Against Digestive System Cancers
Precautions to be Taken Against Digestive System Cancers

Digestive system cancers are increasing day by day in the world and in our country. Among the most important causes of this situation are factors such as unhealthy diet, inactivity, smoking and alcohol use, as well as genetic factors. Prof. from the Department of General Surgery at Medstar Antalya Hospital. Dr. İsmail Gömceli gave information about digestive system cancers and treatment methods.

Cancers of the digestive system (gastrointestinal tract); is a general term used to describe cancers affecting organs of the digestive system such as the esophagus (esophagus), pancreas, stomach, colon, rectum, anus, liver, biliary tract (biliary system), and small intestines.

Sometimes, a tumor can form in one of these organs after a change in the cell level causes abnormal cells to grow. This type of change can be caused by anything from underlying conditions to lifestyle choices to genetics.

The most common types of gastrointestinal cancers are:

Esophageal cancer

Gastric cancer

Colon and rectum (colorectal) cancer

Pancreatic cancer

Liver cancer

Other types are much less common, including neuroendocrine tumors, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and anal cancer.

Colorectal cancers are very common in our country.

Among these cancers, large intestine and rectum (colorectal) cancers are the most common types in our country. About 5-10% are caused by an inherited genetic risk factor, while the majority occur randomly. It is largely associated with unhealthy living conditions. Healthy lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of digestive tract cancer. A significant reduction in risk can be achieved with regular exercise, a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables, a lifestyle with minimal red meat and moderate alcohol consumption. Colorectal screening at regular intervals; It can also significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer by ensuring that polyps are found and removed before they turn into cancer.

It is known that the risk of colorectal cancer increases with age, however, its incidence has been increasing rapidly in patients under 50 years of age. Because; It is important that regular colorectal cancer screening begins at age 45. Early detection of colorectal cancers; It is highly treatable with a team of gastrointestinal system surgeon, medical oncologist, gastroenterologist, radiation oncologist, radiologist and pathologist.

More common in men

In general, gastrointestinal cancers are more likely to develop in men, and the risk increases with age. Studies have linked these cancers to smoking, alcohol consumption, and an unhealthy diet. Tumors can also result from underlying diseases such as reflux disease in the esophagus, Helicobacter pylori infection in the stomach, diabetes in the pancreas, inflammatory bowel diseases (Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's) in the large intestine, hepatitis B or C virus infection in the liver, or cirrhosis. A small percentage of digestive tract cancers are also inherited.

The disease can progress silently in its early stages.

Symptoms of digestive system cancer do not appear until the tumor is in an advanced stage. Then the symptoms differ according to the type of cancer. Patients with esophageal cancer may have difficulty swallowing, while those with stomach cancer notice ulcer-like symptoms (for example, indigestion, loss of appetite, bloating, pain, or bleeding). Liver cancer and pancreatic cancer can also cause abdominal pain, and colorectal cancer can cause changes in bowel pattern or bleeding.

Pay attention to the symptoms and take early action

If patients have symptoms and the doctor suspects gastrointestinal cancer, some of the following tests may be done;

Endoscopy for tumors that may be located in the esophagus, stomach and small intestine line

Colonoscopy to check for polyps in the colon and rectum that can later develop into cancer

Laboratory tests to detect changes in the blood that may be cancer markers

Imaging studies (X-Ray, Ultrasound, Computed Tomography, Magnetic Resonance, PET scanning) to detect abnormal tissues in any part of the digestive system

Biopsy to take samples from abnormal tissues and detect the presence of cancer cells

Digestive system cancers are common both in Turkey and around the world. Treatments are more effective when cancer is detected at an early stage, and sometimes this may not be possible.

Multidisciplinary approach is important in treatment

Rarely, surgery may be the only thing needed for treatment. Surgery involves the complete removal of the tumor along with the surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. The modern treatment of digestive system cancers can be possible with the work of a team of experienced digestive system surgeon, medical oncologist, gastroenterologist, radiation oncologist, radiologist, pathologist and clinical dietitian.

Plan your lifestyle changes today to stay protected

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is very important in the prevention of digestive system cancers. It should be fed properly with the right foods, cigarettes and alcohol should be avoided, physical activity should be given sufficient importance during the day. Especially if there is a family history of cancer, if the problems with the digestive system are thought to be genetic, doctor checks and necessary examinations should be done at regular intervals.

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