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Colon Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention

Colon Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention

At GIDOCJHB, we provide modern screening technology, highly experienced, trained, and supportive staff, and a full commitment to the prevention and early detection of colon cancer.

We also understand that colonoscopy screenings can feel intimidating or even embarrassing. However, what matters is colonoscopies save lives.

Our team also takes great care in ensuring you’re comfortable throughout your procedure.

From regular screenings to innovative cancer treatment options, you can depend on GIDOCJHB to deliver an unsurpassed level of care along with the peace of mind all patients deserve.

 

What is Colon Cancer?

The colon forms a crucial part of the body’s digestive system, which comprises of the esophagus, stomach, and the small and large intestines.

The colon is the first 4 to 5 feet of the large intestine. Cancers that begin in the lower bowel are called colon cancers (also commonly referred to as colorectal cancer).

Colon cancer is one of the leading forms of cancer, both in South Africa and around the world. To find out more about how colon cancer affects men and women, click here.

colon cancer symptoms treatments - Colon Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention 

Symptoms of Colon Cancer

Some early warnings may include:

      • Blood in your stool
      • Change in bowel habits
      • Fatigue
      • Stomach and bloating or cramps that take time to go away
      • Fatigue
      • Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling the bowels don’t fully empty
      • Stools that are narrower than usual
      • Weight loss for no known reason
      • Vomiting
      • Frequent gas pain, bloating, fullness, or cramps.

Unlike some other cancers, many people with colon cancer experience little to no symptoms in the early stages of the disease.

However, when symptoms do show, they’ll likely vary based on the cancer’s size and location in your large intestine.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your gastroenterologist. They may also be caused by something other than cancer.

The only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor/gastroenterologist.

 

Colon Cancer Risk Factors

What You Can Control

The following risk factors increase your chance of developing colon cancer:

      • Obesity: Obesity is an important risk factor for colon cancer.
      • Unhealthy diet: Eat more fruits, vegetables, and fiber, and less animal and fat. Foods rich in calcium and folic acid (such as legumes, citrus, and broccoli) may also help to reduce your risk of colon cancer.
      • Smoking: Not smoking or quitting if you are currently a smoker is one of the top ways to prevent colon cancer.
      • Lack of exercise: Even with moderate physical activity like 3 to 3 times a week can make a difference, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking short distances instead of using transport can help reduce your risk of colon cancer
      • Drinking alcohol in excess: If you choose to drink alcohol, do so moderately
      • Not getting screened regularly: most people should get their first colon cancer screening, a colonoscopy when they reach the age of 45.

Risk Factors You Can’t Control

      • Older age: the risks of developing colon cancer increase with age for both men and women
      • Personal medical history: If you have a history of precancerous colorectal polyps, you are at increased risk for colorectal cancer
      • Family history: If you have a first-degree relative who has had colorectal cancer, you are at an increased risk as well
      • History of Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s colitis, increase your risk of colon cancer.

 colon cancer diagnosis - Colon Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention

Colon Cancer Stages

Stages indicate how far cancer has spread and the size of any tumors. The stages develop as follows:

      • Stage 0: Cancer is in a very early stage. This is the easiest stage to treat because cells are only in the inner lining and haven’t spread deeper.

      • Stage 1: Cancer has grown into the next layer of tissue but has not reached the lymph nodes or any other organs.

      • Stage 2: Cancer has spread to the outer layers of the colon, but it has not spread beyond the colon.

      • Stage 3: Cancer has spread into nearby lymph nodes

      • Stage 4: Cancer has reached other parts beyond the wall of the colon. As stage 4 progresses, colon cancer reaches distant parts of the body.

Colon Cancer Risk Factors Prevention infographic - Colon Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention

Diagnosis

      • The following tests may be used for colon cancer screening or to find out if cancer has spread. Tests also may be used to find out if surrounding tissues or organs have been damaged by treatment.
      • Digital rectal exam (DRE): A gastroenterologist inserts a gloved finger into your rectum to feel for polyps.
      • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT): a simple test that can be done at home and looks for hidden traces of blood in a bowel motion. FOCT can help discover colon cancer in its early stages in people without symptoms.
      • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT): This take-home test finds blood proteins in the stool.

Endoscopic Tests:

      • Sigmoidoscopy: Sigmoidoscopy is similar to colonoscopy, however, it only explores the lower part of the bowel, where cancer is more likely to develop. If a pre-cancerous polyp is detected during the procedure, a full bowel examination by colonoscopy is usually needed.
      • Colonoscopy: During a colonoscopy, a gastroenterologist uses a thin, flexible tube, enabled with a camera to check for abnormalities or disease in your lower intestine or colon.
      • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): An endoscope is inserted into the rectum. A probe at the end bounces high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) off internal organs to make a picture (sonogram). Also called endosonography.

Imaging Tests

      • CT or CAT (computed axial tomography) scan
      • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan
      • PET/CT (positron emission tomography) scan.

colon cancer chemotherapy - Colon Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention

Colon Cancer Treatment

Treatment and types of surgery of colon cancer mostly depend on the stage of cancer, its location, and on the patient’s general health. Several different types of treatment are used (sometimes just one, other times a combined approach).

Surgery

Surgery is the treatment used most often for colorectal cancer. Colon and rectal cancers require surgery if they are to be cured.

Radiation Therapy

In radiation therapy, high-energy x-rays damage or destroy cancer cells to shrink tumors.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is often given before or after surgery to shrink tumors or kill cancer cells, or if cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy may be an option for patients whose cancer has specific genomic features.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy uses bio-engineered drugs that target specific proteins found on cancer cells. These drugs may be used alone or in combination with other treatments.

 

Colon Cancer Risk Factors Prevention infographic 120x300 - Colon Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

Cancer of Small Intestine – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Cancer of Small Intestine – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

At GIDOCJHB, we offer advanced care for people with small intestine cancer.
We create a personalised treatment plan based on factors such as the characteristics of your tumor, your health history, and your family’s medical history.

Our approach incorporates all aspects of diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care.

Dr. Schneider will determine where your cancer started and how far it has progressed.

We aim to provide the diagnostics (tests) and treatment for small intestine cancer, and your care plan will be custom-made to treat your specific small intestine cancer.

What is Cancer of the Small Intestine?

The small intestine is part of the body’s digestive system, which also includes the esophagus, stomach, and large intestine.

The small intestine is a long tube that connects the stomach to the large intestine. In total, the small bowel makes up about 75% of the human body’s entire digestive system.

The small bowel plays a critical role in the breakdown and absorption of food, so that important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can be absorbed into the body.

Small intestine cancer (also known as small bowel cancer) is a rare form of cancer that occurs when cells in the small bowel begin to grow out of control.

Over time, small bowel cancer may grow and block the small intestine. The most common type of small bowel cancer is carcinoid tumour followed by adenocarcinoma.

small intestine cancer symptoms - Cancer of Small Intestine - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment 

Small Intestine Cancer Early Signs and Symptoms

In the early stages, symptoms may be vague and hard to connect to cancer. Often, the first symptom is pain in the stomach area. This pain is often cramping related and may not be constant.

For example, it may start or get worse after you eat. As the tumor gets larger, it can slow the passage of digested food through the intestine.

This can lead to increased pain. If the tumor gets large enough, it can cause an obstruction.

Other digestive problems can cause similar symptoms. However, some early warning signs and common symptoms of small intestine cancer include:

  • Pain in the belly (abdomen)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness and feeling tired (fatigue)
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Dark-colored stools (from bleeding into the intestine)
  • Low red blood cell counts (anemia)
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

Call your gastroenterologist if you have any of these symptoms.

Even if the cause isn’t small bowel cancer, they might be signs of other health problems that need treatment.

If you’d like to find out more about the symptoms of small intestine cancer, click here.

Early Stages of Small Intestine Cancer

Gastroenterologists define staging based on:

  • How deep the tumor has penetrated the lining of the small intestine.
  • Whether the cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes.
  • Whether cancer has spread to other organs.

Gastroenterologists stage the progress of small intestine adenocarcinoma as follows:

  • Stage 0 — the tumor hasn’t gone beyond the top layer of mucosa cells in the small intestine.
  • Stage I — the tumor has grown into deeper cells but hasn’t yet spread to lymph nodes.
  • Stage II — this stage can be A, B, or C. It depends on how deeply the tumor has grown into the cells.
  • Stage III — this stage can also be A, B, or C, depending on how many lymph nodes the cancer has spread to.
  • Stage IV — cancer has spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body, such as liver or lungs

 

Small Intestine Cancer Risk Factors and Causes

Not all of the risk factors below may cause this cancer, but they may be contributing factors. They include:

  • Age 60 or older
  • Consuming frequent Alcohol or tobacco
  • Being male
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diet high in fat or in cured or smoked foods
  • There is also a small increase in risk for those who have had radiation therapy for cancer of the cervix.
  • Family history

 cancer of small intestine healthy lifestyle - Cancer of Small Intestine - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Prevention

It’s still not yet clear what may help to reduce the risk of small intestine cancer, since it’s a rare form of cancer. However, If you’re interested in reducing your risk of cancer in general, it may help to:

  • Eat a Balanced and Healthy Diet

A variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which give you body the energy and nutrients to help fight off diseases and lower your risk.

  • Cut out Alcohol

If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount of alcohol you drink with the aim of eliminating it completely.

  • Stop Smoking

If you’re struggling with quitting, talk to your gastroenterologist about ways to quit that may work for you.

  • Exercise Regularly

Getting your heart rate up and body moving, stretching, and working is important.  Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days.

  • Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

If you need to lose weight, ask your gastroenterologist about healthy ways to achieve your goal, combined with an eating plan.


colonoscopy procedure johannesburg - Cancer of Small Intestine - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

How Is Small Intestine Cancer Diagnosed?

The type of tests to diagnose small bowel cancer will vary depending on the symptoms and type of small bowel cancer.

Your diagnostic tests may include:

  • Physical Exam and History

An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual.

  • Blood Tests

Blood samples can show signs of infection or changes in your liver function. The results tell your doctors which further tests may be useful.

  • Endoscopy

An endoscopy may also be performed to examine the small intestine and surrounding organs in more detail.

  • Biopsy

The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope to check for signs of cancer.

  • Imaging

Specialized imaging tests can identify cancerous cells (lesions) in your intestinal tract.
Your gastroenterologist may order X-rays, CT scans or MRI scans to help understand a tumor’s location and type.

 cancer of small intestine chemotherapy 1 - Cancer of Small Intestine - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

 

Small Intestine Cancer Treatment

Different types of treatments are available for patients with small intestine cancer. Small intestine cancer treatment usually involves surgery.

After surgeons remove the tumor, you may need follow-up care including radiation or chemotherapy. Your treatment options may include:

  • Surgery

Resection or bypass surgery is the most common treatment of small intestine cancer.

  • Radiation Therapy

After surgery, your gastroenterologist may recommend radiation therapy, which uses powerful X-rays to destroy cancer cells.

  • Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing.

 

    DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

    The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

    Dispelling Myths About Colonoscopy – Here are the Facts

    Dispelling Myths About Colonoscopy – Here are the Facts

    Our approach is one of careful and thorough assessments with the aim of correct diagnosis and problem-solving.

    We also aim to empower our clients with the knowledge to better understand and manage their condition.

    We want all our patients to be informed decision makers and fully understand any health issues of the digestive system. Dr. Schneider is devoted to his patients and is an advocate for health screening and treatment.

    Colonoscopy lets a gastroenterologist look inside your large intestine from the rectum through the colon to the lower end of the small intestine.

    The procedure checks a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms, including unexplained changes in bowel habits or the cause of bleeding from the rectum.

    It’s also used to look for early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum.

    A colonoscopy is the most accurate and effective screening for colon cancer and you don’t need a referral for a screening at Gi Doc Jhb.

    Colon cancer screening can be lifesaving; don’t let any of these myths stop you from getting screened and taking an active role in your health.

    To find out more about Colorectal cancer in South Africa, click here

     

    Schedule An Appointment With Dr. Schneider

     

    is colonoscopy embarrasing img - Dispelling Myths About Colonoscopy - Here are the Facts

    Myth #1: It’s Too Embarrassing

    Gastroenterologists understand that a colonoscopy is a potentially embarrassing experience for patients, and do all they can to make them comfortable — from providing a curtain for undressing, a private room, and blankets to stay warm and covered.

    Patients can also make an appointment with their gastroenterologist before the procedure to meet face to face and ask any questions that will help them feel more comfortable.

    It can also help to remember that we have performed hundreds of colonoscopies and consider the colon the same way they would any other organ.

     

    Myth 2: “If I don’t have any symptoms, I don’t need a colonoscopy.”

    Colon polyps often don’t cause any symptoms. It’s not until they’ve transformed into full-blown colon cancer that symptoms may arise.

    The whole point of a colonoscopy is to remove these polyps before they become cancerous. The prevalence of polyps increases with age.

    Therefore even older individuals should keep up with colon cancer screening. If you have a family history of colon cancer you should speak with your physician about when to begin routine colonoscopy screening.

     

    Myth 3: The Procedure is very Uncomfortable

    A colonoscopy is a pain-free procedure that is usually done under anesthesia. The procedure itself takes only 30 minutes and you can resume normal activities the next day.

     

    colonoscopy procedure complications - Dispelling Myths About Colonoscopy - Here are the Facts

    Myth 4: Colonoscopies Carry a High Risk of Complications

    Complications during or after colonoscopy are very rare. The bottom line is your risk of developing colon cancer is far higher than your risk of suffering a complication due to a colonoscopy.

    It is, however, important to schedule your colonoscopy with a physician who is certified to perform this procedure.

     

    Myth 5: I’ll Have to Take a Week Off from Work

    At most, you’ll need to take off the day you’re drinking your prep – since you’ll be spending a good part of the day in the bathroom – and the day of the procedure. You’ll be foggy from the anesthesia and probably drained from a day of cleansing.

     

    Myth #6: Colonoscopy is Difficult to Prepare for

    Preparing for a colonoscopy is a very simple process and involves following a liquid diet for one day before the procedure.

    Preparation also involves cleaning the colon with the help of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

    Typically these are liquid drinks that you must consume a day or two before the procedure.

     colonoscopy pricing johannesburg - Dispelling Myths About Colonoscopy - Here are the Facts

    Myth #7: Screening Colonoscopy is Expensive, and I won’t be able to Pay for It

    A screening colonoscopy is covered by insurance. The out-of-pocket cost to the individual is usually minor.

    Patients should discuss with their insurance companies what their out-of-pocket costs might be.

     

    Myth #8: Colonoscopies aren’t Necessary for Women

    Colorectal cancer affects men and women in nearly equal numbers. It’s not only a man’s disease; therefore, screening for colonoscopies are for everyone.

    Ask your gastroenterologist when you should begin screening. Colon cancer is in the top 4 cause of cancer deaths for men AND women around the world.

     

    Myth #9: Everyone Should Start Screening at the Age of 50

    Not necessarily. For people with an average risk of colorectal cancer, it’s a good idea to start regular screenings at age 50.

    But if you have a higher risk, your gastroenterologist might want to get you started earlier.

    You may be at high risk if you have:

    • A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
    • A personal history of inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
    • Obesity
    • Diabetes

     

    colon cancer colonoscopy - Dispelling Myths About Colonoscopy - Here are the Facts

    Myth #10: When you are Diagnosed with Colon Cancer, it has Spread to Other Parts of your Body

    This is not true. The majority of patients diagnosed with colon cancer can be treated and will go on to live normal lives.

    The earlier we identify the problem area, the less likely the tumor will have spread to other parts of your body.

     

    Myth 11: “There’s Nothing I Can Do to Prevent Colon Cancer.”

    Colon cancer is strongly associated with lifestyle choices such as exercising, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight are a few simple steps people can take to reduce and lower their the risk of colon cancer.

    Obesity, physical inactivity, consumption of red meats (beef and pork, for example) and processed meats (like lunch/deli meats, hot dogs and sausage), a diet low in fiber, smoking, and alcohol use are all associated with an increased risk of a patient getting colon cancer.

     

    DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

    The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

    5 Reasons to See a Gastroenterologist

    5 Reasons to See a Gastroenterologist

    Dr. Schneider has specialized medical training and significant experience with diseases affecting the stomach, intestines, oesophagus, liver, pancreas, colon and rectum.

    Patients are usually referred to a gastroenterologist by a primary care doctor after examination or health discussions.

    Gastroenterologists have the tools and expertise to diagnose and treat your conditions correctly.

    Often, seeing a gastroenterologist leads to more accurate detection of polyps and cancer, fewer complications from procedures and less time spent in the hospital.

    If you’ve never seen a gastroenterologist before but are struggling with digestive issues, you might wonder when it’s time to see a GI doctor.

    We’ve created a list of the top 5 reasons to see a gastroenterologist in Johannesburg to help educate patients on the most common symptoms and help lessen any fear towards seeing a GI doctor.

     

    heartburn - 5 Reasons to See a Gastroenterologist

     

    1. Heartburn

     

    While heartburn is fairly common amongst adults, consistent heartburn more than twice a week could be a sign of a more serious issue like acid reflux, or GERD.

    Reflux is a burning sensation felt behind the chest that occurs when stomach contents irritate the normal lining of the oesophagus.

    Sometimes it’s difficult to know when your heartburn symptoms are severe enough that you need to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist, and we understand that.

    Here are some indications that it’s time to see a gastroenterologist:

    • Symptoms that continue for more than twice a week
    • Heartburn that persists after taking over-the-counter medications
    • Heartburn episodes that change in frequency or intensity
    • Acid reflux that interferes with your daily activities or affects your quality of life
    • Heartburn accompanied by nausea or vomiting

     

    gallstones - 5 Reasons to See a Gastroenterologist

     

    2. Gallstones

     

    Gallstones are small, hard nuggets or pellets that form in the gallbladder.

    A gallstone can be as tiny as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball.

    Pain from gallstones almost always passes once they move.

    Gallstones also may form if the gallbladder does not empty completely or often enough.

    People who are obese, have a family history of gallstones, and over the age of 40 (especially women), have increased risk of developing gallstones.

    Obesity increases the amount of cholesterol in bile, which can cause stone formation.

    Here are some indications that it’s time to see a gastroenterologist:

    • Upper-right quadrant pain that does not go away within 4-5 hours
    • Sweating
    • Chills
    • Low-grade fever
    • Yellowish colour of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
    • Clay-coloured stools

     

     

    IBD - 5 Reasons to See a Gastroenterologist

     

    3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

     

    Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) describes a cluster of disorders in which the intestines become inflamed.

    The small and large intestines become irritated and swollen, causing a bunch of complications like belly pain, rectal bleeding, and diarrhoea.

    Symptoms may ease up but then returns during a flare.

    IBD is often confused with a similar condition called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) but the two conditions are different.

    IBD is a more serious condition, which may lead to a number of complications including damage to the bowel and malnutrition.

    IBD tends to be hereditary, although not everyone with IBD has a family history of the disease.

    Inflammatory bowel disease can happen at any age but is mostly diagnosed in teens and young adults.

    Here are some indications that it’s time to see a gastroenterologist:

    See your doctor if you experience a persistent change in your bowel habits or if you have any of the signs and symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.

    Although inflammatory bowel disease usually isn’t dangerous, it’s a serious disease that, in some cases, may cause life-threatening complications.

     

     

    Schedule an Appointment With Dr. Schneider

     

    colon cancer screening - 5 Reasons to See a Gastroenterologist

     

    4. Colon Cancer Screening

     

    After a certain age, older adults should make a habit of screening for cancer that could affect your digestive tract.

    This means screenings for colorectal cancer, intestinal cancer, and beyond.

    The good news is that colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer.

    Colorectal cancer can be prevented, not just detected, through colonoscopy.

    Here are some indications that it’s time to see a gastroenterologist:

    Gastroenterologists recommend that all people who are physically healthy start screening for colon cancer at age 50.

    If you are pregnant, overweight or live an unhealthy lifestyle, we recommend screening before age 50.

    You are recommended to get screened for colon cancer even if you do not have a family history of cancer and have not had any symptoms.

    Colonoscopy is recommended at least once every 10 years.

    More information on Colon Cancer can be found here.

     

    constipation - 5 Reasons to See a Gastroenterologist

     

    5. Constipation

     

    Constipation is infrequent bowel movements (less than three a week) or difficulty in passing stools.

    Constipation symptoms include hard stools and feeling like your bowel hasn’t completely emptied.

    If you are affected by constipation, it could mean a serious digestive issue is causing it.

    The good news is that constipation is not a disease, but a condition.

    Constipation can affect anyone, regardless of age.

    However, its most common amongst older people, people who are dehydrated, or have diets that are low in fibre.

    Here are some indications that it’s time to see a gastroenterologist:

    When you have constipation that won’t go away for 3 weeks or more, it’s time to see a doctor or gastroenterologist for help.

    This is by no means a definitive list – there are numerous conditions that can cause abdominal or abnormalities with the gut and stomach.

     

    Preparing for Your Appointment

     

    Because appointments can be brief, and because there’s often a lot of information to cover, it’s a good idea to be well-prepared.

    Here’s some information to help you get ready.

    • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there’s anything you need to do in advance, such as following a certain diet, etc.
    • Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing.
    • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
    • Make a list of all medications, vitamins, supplements or herbal medications you’re taking.
    • If you think you might be scared of your check-up results and think you might need support, we recommend taking a close relative of yours with you to see your doctors such as a family member or close friend.

    DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

    The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

    A Quick Guide to a Gastroscopy

    A Quick Guide to a Gastroscopy

    Dr. Schneider provides rapid assessment, intervention and treatment for numerous common and complex stomach conditions.

    Whether you are an inpatient or an outpatient, you will be cared for by Dr Schneider and his team of professionals who are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the best possible treatment and advice.

    All GiDoc clinical staff are highly qualified within their field and undergo regular, extensive training. This ensures the highest standards of care, aiding patients with a faster recovery.

    When patients come to our gastroenterology practice, we aim to see them as quickly as possible, and make a diagnosis using the most appropriate and effective tests.

    In this post, we’ll discuss Gastroscopy.

    what is gastroscopy - A Quick Guide to a Gastroscopy 

    What is a Gastroscopy?

    Gastroscopy is an examination where a Gastroenterologist passes a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope through your mouth and into your esophagus, stomach and small intestine (bowel).

    This tube has a light and a camera at the end which takes pictures of what is seen and feeds the images into a monitor allowing the Gastroenterologist to examine the lining and check for any abnormalities such as inflammation or ulcers.

    More information can be found here.

     

    Why is a Gastroscopy Needed?

    Your gastroscopy findings will help your doctor decide on which treatment is best to help you or whether further examinations are needed to be carried out.

    A gastroscopy may be recommended if you have symptoms that suggest a problem with the stomach.

    This could be difficulty swallowing or unexplained weight loss. The procedure can help to diagnose the underlying cause of these symptoms.

    Other reasons may include:

    • Investigate problems such as difficulty swallowing, indigestions, abnormal bleeding, low levels of iron, anemia, vomiting, unintentional weight loss and heartburn
    • Diagnose conditions or find out the cause of symptoms such as stomach ulcers or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), nausea and vomiting
    • To screen for and prevent stomach cancer
    • To remove foreign objects
    • Treat conditions such as bleeding ulcers, a blockage in the oesophagus, non-cancerous growths (polyps) or small cancerous tumours.

     

    Schedule an Appointment With Dr. Schneider

    before gastroscopy - A Quick Guide to a Gastroscopy


    During a Gastroscopy

    A gastroscopy examination often takes less than 20 minutes, although it may take longer if it’s being used to treat a condition.

    It’s almost always carried out as an outpatient procedure, which means you won’t have to spend the night in hospital.

    Your nurse or Gastroenterologist will then explain the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form. This is a good time to ask any questions you might have.

    Before the procedure, your throat will be numbed with a local anaesthetic spray.

    Usually, you’re awake when you have the test, but you can choose to have sedative medicine to relax and make you drowsy.

    The procedure shouldn’t be painful, but it may be unpleasant or uncomfortable at times.

    Some endoscopy units may ask you to change into a hospital gown, but you can usually have the test in your own clothes if you prefer.

    A small plastic mouth guard will be placed gently between your teeth to help you keep your mouth slightly open and make it easier for your doctor to pass the endoscope (camera).

    Your Gastroenterologist will start by gently inserting the gastroscope through your mouth and into the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.

    Using the video images, your doctor can examine your food pipe and stomach lining to look for redness or inflammations. If necessary, a tissue sample will be taken.

    When the examination is finished, the gastroscope will be removed carefully.

     

    after endoscopy - A Quick Guide to a Gastroscopy

    After a Gastroscopy

    Your nurse or Gastroenterologist will talk to you about how the test went, if they took any biopsies and when to expect the results.

    You might have some bloating and discomfort lasting a few hours after the gastroscopy.

    Because of the sedative given to you before the procedure, it may also affect your memory for a few hours afterwards and you may still be feeling drowsy.

    For this reason, a relative or friend should come with you and drive you home if possible.

    After the sedative you should not:

    • drive a car for 24 hours
    • drink alcohol for at least 24 hours
    • operate machinery for 24 hours
    • sign any important documents until the next day
    • undertake any other activities likely to place you at risk.

    Although the doctor may briefly run through the findings of the gastroscopy with you once the sedative has worn off, a follow-up appointment is usually made to discuss the test results in more detail.

    What are the Possible Risks or Complications of a Gastroscopy?

    A gastroscopy is generally a very safe procedure, but like all medical procedures it does carry a risk of complications.

    Possible complications can include a sore throat or a numb feeling in your mouth which is caused by the anaesthetic spray.

    Complications like bleeding and injury to organs are very rare. The gastroscope may cause minimal damage to your teeth when it is put into your mouth.

    Only in very rare cases do sedatives lead to complications such as breathing problems or cardiovascular problems.

    Occasionally, sedation can cause problems with your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.

    The risks are higher in older people and those with lung or heart problems. Your nurse closely watches you for any problems during the test, so they can treat it quickly.

    Getting Your Results

    You should get your results within 2 weeks. The results are sent to you and your gastroenterologist or you may get them at a follow up appointment.

    However, if a biopsy sample was removed, this might take up to six to eight weeks.

    DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

    The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

    Cancer Screening: All You Need to Know

    Cancer Screening: All You Need to Know

    Dr Schneider employs a comprehensive approach to the treatment of colon cancer and rectal cancer, with integrated use of surgery, radiation when applicable and chemotherapy.

     

    What is Colorectal Cancer Screening?

     

    Checking for Colorectal cancer (Colon cancer) or for abnormal cells that may become cancer in people who have no symptoms is called screening.  

    Screening can help doctors find and treat several types of cancer early before they cause symptoms.

    Early detection is important because when abnormal tissue or colon cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat.

    By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread and be harder to treat.

    It is important to remember that when your doctor suggests a screening test, it does not always mean he or she thinks you may have colon cancer.

    Screening tests are done when you have no cancer symptoms. When a person has symptoms, diagnostic tests are used to find out the cause of the symptoms. 

    Sidenote: If you have a strong family history of colorectal polyps or cancer, you have a higher risk of getting colorectal cancer yourself. 

    Cancer in first-degree relatives such as parents, brothers, and sisters is most concerning. 

    Having two or more relatives with colorectal cancer is more concerning than having only one relative with it, which is why we recommend you be screened more regularly if this is the case with you.

    Talk With Dr Schneider About Your Risk

     

    Is Screening for Colon Cancer Effective?

     

    From the time the first abnormal cells start to grow into polyps, it usually takes about 10 to 15 years for them to develop into colorectal cancer. 

    With regular screening, most polyps can be found and removed before they have the chance to turn into cancer.

    Regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful weapons for preventing and finding traces of colorectal cancer.

    If you’re interested in the latest Colorectal cancer findings, click here.

     

     

    When Should You be Screened for Colon Cancer?


    People at risk of colorectal cancer should start regular screening before the age of 45.

    Those who do not have a family history of colon cancer should get screened at age 45 onwards.

    There are some exceptions to this below: 

    • If you are experiencing symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately.
    • If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, we recommend getting screened 10 years before the age of the youngest case in your immediate family (mother, father, sister, brother)
    • If you have ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease we recommend also getting screened.

     

    Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

     

    Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease.

    When symptoms appear, they’ll likely vary, depending on cancer’s size and location in your large intestine.

    Consult with a Gastroenterologist if you have these symptoms:

    • A persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhoea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool.
    • Blood in your stool.
    • Persistent abdominal discomforts, such as cramps, gas or pain.
    • Bleeding from the rectum.
    • Feeling like the bowel is not empty after a bowel movement.
    • Weakness or fatigue.
    • Unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite.
    • A lump in the abdomen or rectum.

     

    Talk With Dr Schneider About Your Symptoms

     

    Test Options for Colorectal Cancer Screening

     

    Several test options are available for colorectal cancer screening:

     

    1. Stool-based tests:

     

    • Highly sensitive faecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year.
    • Faecal occult blood test (FOBT). This test finds blood in the faeces, or stool, which can be a sign of polyps or cancer. There are two types FOBT: guaiac and immunochemical.
    • Multi-targeted stool DNA test (MT-sDNA) every 3 years.

     

     

    2. Visual (structural) exams of the colon and rectum:

     

    • During this procedure, the doctor inserts a flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope into the rectum. The doctor can check the entire colon for polyps or cancer.
    • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years.
    • The doctor uses a flexible, lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope to check the lower colon for polyps and cancer. The doctor cannot check the upper part of the colon with this test.

     

    Can Colon Cancer be Prevented?

     

    Keeping your body healthy can lower your chances of getting colon cancer. Here are some steps you can take to decrease your risk.

    • Stop Using Tobacco – Talk to your doctor about ways to quit that may work for you.
    • Maintain a Healthy Diet – Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, which may play a role in cancer prevention.
    • Skip Alcohol – If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
    • Exercise Regularly – Maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular exercise such as walking, gardening, or going to the gym will reduce your risk.
    • Don’t Forget Vitamins – Take calcium or folic acid supplements.
    • Know Your Family History – Talk with your Gastroenterologist if you are concerned about your personal or family history of cancer and decide when to start regular cancer screening.
    • Get Screened – Be sure to get regular check-ups and talk to your health care provider about cancer screening.

     

    Stages of Colorectal Cancer

     

    Staging describes or classifies cancer based on how much cancer there is in the body and where it is when first diagnosed. This is often called the extent of cancer.

    The stage is the most important prognostic factor for colorectal cancer. The lower the stage at diagnosis, the better the outcome.

    For colorectal cancer, there are 5 stages – stage 0 followed by stages 1 to 4. More information can be found here.

     

    Stage 0

    The cancer cells are only in the inner lining of the colon or rectum (mucosa) and have not grown past the muscle layer of the mucosa.

     

    Stage 1

    The tumour has grown into the layer of connective tissue that surrounds the mucosa (submucosa) or into the thick outer muscle layer of the colon or rectum (muscularis propria).

    Stage 2

    Many stage II colon cancers have grown through the wall of the colon, and maybe into nearby tissue, but they have not spread to the lymph nodes.

     

    Stage 3

    Stage III colon cancers have spread to nearby lymph nodes, but they have not yet spread to other parts of the body.

    Stage 4

    The cancer has spread to other parts of the body (called distant metastasis), such as to the liver or lungs. Even though stage 4 cancer is not considered curable, there are many treatment options available.

     

    Surgery Options

     

    Surgery is the primary treatment for most colorectal cancers. Depending on the stage and location of the tumour, you may have one of the following types of surgery:

     

    • Removing Polyps During a Colonoscopy (Polypectomy)

    If your cancer is small and in the early stage, and has not spread to other body parts, your doctor may be able to remove it completely during a colonoscopy.

     

    • Minimally Invasive Surgery (laparoscopic surgery)

    Polyps that can’t be removed during a colonoscopy may be removed using laparoscopic surgery.

    In this procedure, your surgeon operates through several small incisions in your abdominal wall, inserting instruments with attached cameras that display your colon on a video monitor.

    • Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy is a common treatment for colorectal cancer. It is often used after surgery for stage 2 and 3 colon cancer. 

    Chemotherapy can be used as the main treatment for stage 4 or recurrent cancer in the colon or rectum that can’t be removed by surgery.

    • Chemoradiation

    Chemoradiation combines chemotherapy with radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is given during the same period as radiation therapy. 

     

    • Radiation Therapy

    Radiation therapy is mainly used for cancer in the rectum. It is usually used before surgery and may be given as part of chemoradiation.

     

    • Targeted Therapy

    Targeted therapy is used to treat stage 4 colorectal cancer that has spread to distant organs like the liver or lungs.

     

    Follow-Up Care

    Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. You will need to have regular follow-up visits, especially in the first 5 years after treatment has finished.

    These visits allow your gastroenterologist to monitor your progress and recovery from treatment.

     

     

    DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

    The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

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    © Dr. H Schneider, Registered Gastroenterologist, GI Doc Johannesburg

    Our website information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained physician can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.