Gastrointestinal Tract Cancer
Cancer/Malignancy of the GastroIntestinal Tract ( GIT) can affect any organ from the Oesophagus (Stomach tube) to the anus. The accessory organs of the digestive system like the liver, biliary tract and the pancreas are also affected. The symptoms relate to the organ affected and can include obstruction (leading to difficulty swallowing or defecating), abnormal bleeding or other associated problems. Throughout the world the incidence of GIT cancer is rising. Overall, the GI tract and the accessory organs of digestion (pancreas, liver, gall bladder) are responsible for more cancers and more deaths from cancer than any other system in the body. There is significant geographic variation in the rates of different gastrointestinal cancers.
Risk Factors for GIT cancer
Age is an important risk factor in developing GIT cancer. Older individuals are more prone to develop cancer than younger ones. Other risk factors include genetics, smoking, alcohol, diabetes, spicy food and constipation.
Symptoms of GIT cancer are very varied as discussed. The truth is most cancers don’t present at an early stage. Especially symptoms of colorectal cancers appear really late. Pain, difficulty in swallowing, itching, bleeding from the anus, loss of appetite, loss of weight, recurrent fevers could all be symptoms of GIT cancer.
As most GIT cancers present late it is important to screen for the disease at an early stage. Office endoscopy in patients with dysphagia, colonoscopy in patients with rectal bleeding may be warranted. Higher testing like ERCP may be required for some.
Laser Treatment of GIT cancer
Laser treatment can be applied to a great extent in GIT cancer. The Holmium Yag is a very effective laser for the GIT. Lasers are more precise than standard surgical tools (scalpels), so they do less damage to normal tissues. As a result, patients usually have less pain, bleeding, swelling, and scarring. With laser therapy, operations are usually shorter. In fact, laser therapy can often be done on anoutpatient basis. It takes less time for patients to heal after laser surgery, and they are less likely to get infections.
Holmium Yag LaserA multi-purpose, multi-speciality surgical laser which has revolutionized the surgical process of Gastro Intestinal Tract with minimal pain and blood loss.