Our physical and mental health are interdependent and any disturbance in our physical health can impact overall well-being. It is thus, important to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
One of the important parts of our body is the gastrointestinal tract which can be damaged by various diseases and cancer is one such disease. The exact cause of cancer is unknown. However, factors like family history, lifestyle (smoking, drinking alcohol), and food habits, may increase the risk.
The most common type of gastrointestinal cancer is adeno carcinoma, which starts in the glandular tissue of the GI tract and accounts for 90% - 95% of all gastrointestinal cancers. Other forms of gastrointestinal cancer include lymphomas and sarcomas. Also, gastrointestinal tumor can grow and spread into the liver, pancreas and other parts of the abdomen.
Initial symptoms of gastrointestinal cancer are vague. The type or quality of pain, location, radiation, duration, frequency can vary depending on the organs and extent of cancer. Symptoms of advanced gastrointestinal cancer include blood in stools, loss of appetite, weight loss and jaundice.
One should go for screening tests that include X-ray, CT-scan, MRI-scan and Endoscopic Ultrasound. Endoscopy and Biopsy are the best methods of identifying gastrointestinal cancer. Furthermore, surgery is also said to be the only treatment to cure gastrointestinal cancer. Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy after surgery can improve the chance of cure. Above all, a good lifestyle, healthy and balanced diet can go a long way in preserving digestive health.
Tips and Warnings
- Ask your doctor about the risk factors associated with chronic H pylori infections of the stomach lining and whether you should be treated for these. Though research is ongoing, there are indications that treatment of this chronic condition may lower the risk of developing stomach cancer.
- You have the right to choose your health care provider from a wide enough selection of providers to ensure that you will receive the highest quality care possible.
- Alcoholism and tobacco addiction are both diseases which are highly treatable. Ask your doctor for assistance when quitting smoking and seek intervention if you feel your drinking has gotten out of control. Support groups and behavior modification treatments are available to assist you in this process.