Gastrointestinal cancer in the early stages with symptoms such as abdominal pain, indigestion, constipation… is often vague, easily confused with other diseases, leading to late treatment.
Patient Thuy Anh (39 years old, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City) often has a feeling of indigestion, sometimes with bloating accompanied by constipation. However, she thought that due to digestive disorders, she did not go to the doctor. After that, she started having stomach pains, sometimes having contractions that went away. The frequency of the pain repeats more often, gradually increasing, the abdomen is distended.
When she could not have a bowel movement, Thuy Anh went to the hospital for a checkup. At Tam Anh General Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, a CT scan showed that she had a bowel obstruction due to a left colon tumor with lymph node metastasis, a combination of endoscopy and biopsy for cancer diagnosis.
Doctor, Doctor Do Minh Hung – Director of the Center for Endoscopy and Gastrointestinal Surgery, said that her illness was quite serious, her bowel obstruction did not improve after medical treatment, so she could not have endoscopic surgery. soi. Therefore, the medical team performed an open surgery to remove the left colon, remove the lymph nodes for the patient, and transferred to the oncology department to coordinate chemotherapy after surgery.
According to Dr. Tran Vuong Thao Nghi – Head of Oncology Department, Tam Anh General Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, the gastrointestinal tract is a hollow and closed system inside the body, so most gastrointestinal tumors are negative. silent, accompanied by rather vague signs (eg abdominal pain, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea…), easy to confuse with other benign pathologies. Most cases of gastrointestinal cancer are detected when the disease is at an advanced stage. Therefore, screening by modern endoscopic techniques is very important, helping to detect early lesions in the gastrointestinal tract.
Cancer can occur in any part of the digestive tract, from the esophagus to the stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon), rectum, and anus. According to Globocan in 2020, stomach cancer causes the third highest death rate in Vietnam with 14,615 cases, just behind liver cancer and lung cancer. The number of new cases in both sexes is 17,906, accounting for 9.8% after liver cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer.
Stomach cancer can occur at any age, but it’s most common in people aged 50 and over, Dr. Nghi said. However, the disease tends to be younger at the age of under 50. Men have a higher rate of stomach cancer than women. The cure rate can be up to 90% if detected early, right from the onset of the disease.
According to Doctor Nghi, for the group of benign inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, if the disease keeps coming back and is not treated and properly monitored, it is also a germ causing cancer. The human body has a self-healing mechanism to repair inflammation. However, if this situation goes on continuously, on the areas of damage left by inflammation, it is possible to see abnormal changes in cells (in terms of shape, size as well as uncontrolled proliferation). …), which can easily lead to precancerous lesions.
For example, gastritis caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria, repeated many times can cause the corresponding stomach area to become inflamed. If the body cannot repair itself, there is a risk of forming abnormal cells, which are the basis of cancer.
“With the advancement of medicine, now cancer in general and gastrointestinal cancer in particular can be detected early if screened for the right risk, at the right time, with the right method. Developing a comprehensive and personalized treatment regimen offers a higher chance of cure and a higher 5-year recurrence-free survival rate,” emphasized Dr.