The 11th annual conference of the Society of Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy of India will begin in the city from July 22, under the aegis of MedIndia Institute of Medical Specialities, conference organising chairman T.S.Chandrasekar said here on Wednesday.

The seven-day conference ‘Digestive Endoscopy Week 2010' will include paper presentations and live demonstrations by experts from Europe and the United States. About 100 patients, to be selected from a free screening camp at MedIndia Hospital, Nungambakkam, on July 11, will undergo surgeries for various GI tract problems.

The poor, the young, non-alcoholics and non-smokers will be given preference. Patients who have the possibility of being cured permanently will be selected, he said.

The digestive diseases helpline 12789, launched on a pilot basis by the hospital for residents of Chennai will be extended to the entire State at the inaugural function of the conference on July 24 by Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. The helpline is toll-free for those calling from a BSNL landline or mobile phone, Dr. Chandrasekar said. Those who wish to register for the free check up can call the number.

Governor Surjit Singh Barnala would be launching a text book on gastroenterology at the function.

“Awareness about the need for early intervention and preventive check up is still lacking,” Dr. Chandrasekar said. “Only when the organ is 70-80 per cent damaged do people come to know about the symptom.” Alarm symptoms such as loss of appetite or weight, belching, vomiting, blood in stool or lump in the abdomen should alert a person, he added.

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