Gastrointestinal Cancer

Nearly everyone has had a stomachache at some point due to different reasons. It generally is not taken seriously because its quite common. But, on certain occasions, a stomach ache can be indicative of a far more serious problem – digestive track complications, colitis and even cancer. Tackling these conditions at an early stage ensures you a better chance of survival. In cases involving colonic cancer and colitis, timely intervention can save the lives of 70-80 per cent of patients. So, make it a point to visit your doctor regularly for check-ups.

Gastrointestinal cancer usually begins in the mucus-producing cells that line the stomach. This type of cancer is called adenocarcinoma.For the past several decades, rates of cancer in the main part of the stomach (stomach body) have been falling worldwide. During the same period, cancer in the area where the top part of the stomach (cardia) meets the lower end of the swallowing tube (esophagus) has become much more common. This area of the stomach is called the gastroesophageal junction.

Symptoms of GI Cancer
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss (without trying)
  • Abdominal (belly) pain, discomfort
  • A sense of fullness in the upper abdomen after eating a small meal
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting, with or without blood
  • Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen
  • Low red blood cell count (anaemia)
Risk Factor of GI Cancer
  • A diet high in salty and smoked foods
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Smoking
  • Eating foods contaminated with aflatoxin fungus
  • Family history of stomach cancer
  • Infection with Helicobacter pylori (a type of bacteria)
  • Long-term stomach inflammation
  • Pernicious anaemia
  • Stomach polyps
Stages of GI Cancer
  • Stage I: Cancer has grown into the inner layer of the wall of the stomach
  • Stage II: Cancer has grown into the outer muscular layers of the wall of the stomach
  • Stage III: Cancer has grown through all of the layers of the muscle into the connective tissue outside the stomach and has grown into nearby organs or structures
  • Stage IV: Cancer has spread to the liver and to the inside of the abdomen. Less commonly, it can also spread to the lungs.