Cancer involves the unrestrained growth of cells in a body organ or tissue. As the growth develops abnormally, it infiltrates surrounding tissues and may block passageways, affect bone and destroy nerves. The cancer cells may spread to other parts of the body through blood vessels and lymphatic channels.
What to look for
Stomach cancer is a less common form of cancer and cancer of the small intestine is fairly rare. Early symptoms of colon and rectal cancer include blood or mucus mixed in the stools, a change in bowel habits, abdominal pain and loss of appetite. For oesophageal cancer, the warning signs are a difficulty in swallowing, weight loss and some discomfort or burning sensation which may resemble heartburn. Early suggestions of stomach cancer are unexplained and persistent indigestion, weight loss, loss of appetite, vomiting blood, blood in the stools, a bloated feeling after eating and gnawing pains in the abdomen.
Susceptibility to cancer is partly determined by inherited genetic make-up. The cancer occurs when genes controlling cell multiplication are transformed by carcinogens. Various triggers provoke these changes in vulnerable individuals from viruses to environmental pollutants and smoking.
When to seek further professional advice
Anyone, and especially men and women over the age of 50, with marked and unexplained changes in bowel habits or the ability to swallow should consult a doctor immediately.
Complementary treatments can be successfully used to support people suffering from cancer both physically and emotionally, but must be used alongside orthodox medical treatment, not instead of it. These treatments may include: Bach Flower Remedies, Aromatherapy, Homeopathy and Acupuncture.
Most patients with oesophageal cancer are treated with radiotherapy. Surgery may be offered to remove most of the oesophagus. The treatment for colon and rectal cancer is almost always surgery, removing the cancerous areas and leaving the rest of the organ intact. If the disease has spread extensively the colon may need to be removed. Cancer or the stomach may be treated by chemotherapy, radiology, surgery or all three.
The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment