There needs to be aggressive screening for GI cancer, say experts

Gastroenterologist D. Nageshwar Reddy (extreme right), Kazuo Hara, chairman of Aichi Cancer Centre, Japan, Rajkumar Wadhwa (second from left), chief gastroenterologist at Apollo BGS, Mysuru, and head of Apollo BGS Mysuru G. Bharateesha Reddy at a media briefing in Mysuru on Sunday   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

Experts participating in a workshop on gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery in Mysuru have emphasised the need for aggressive screening for gastrointestinal cancer.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of GI Update 2020, a workshop organised by Apollo BGS Hospitals, noted gastroenterologist and head of Asian Institute of Gastroenterology D. Nageshwar Reddy advocated screening in everyone above the age of 50.

He said gastrointestinal ailments were neglected by society, which is more concerned about cardiac problems and diabetes. Gastrointestinal ailments afflict about 30% of the population in the country, as opposed to cardiac problems and diabetes, which afflict 10-15% of the population.

In many parts of Karnataka, such as Shivamogga, the rate of oesophagus cancer is high, he said. “Everyone over the age of 50 should undergo GI endoscopy screening to rule out cancer. Early-stage cancer can be cured, but not last-stage cancer,” he said.

The rate of mortality in cases of late detection of gastrointestinal cancer is high. “If cancer is detected in the mucosa, it can be cured 100%. When it spreads to the sub-mucosa, it can be cured 70%. But when it spreads to the muscular layer, the chances of cure are only 10%,” he said.

In countries such as Japan, the rate of gastrointestinal cancer is very low because of mandatory screening, said Kazuo Hara, chairman of Aichi Cancer Centre, Japan, who was also present on the occasion.

He complimented Indian doctors for their skill in the use of endoscopy in advanced treatment of gastrointestinal cancer.

Meanwhile, Dr. Reddy said ailments such as diabetes and cancer were also linked to gastrointestinal issues. Studies to find a cure to diabetes by using a special endoscopic procedure called DMR technique, which addresses the duodenum, are in advanced stages, Dr. Reddy said.

Using AI for detection

Detection of gastrointestinal cancer at an early stage will soon be possible in India through Artificial Intelligence (AI) in endoscopy, according to Dr. Reddy.

He said AI would enable the software in endoscopes to point to early stage cancer and remove it. He described AI in endoscopy as a major advancement in the field of GI endoscopy, which will be available in India in the coming few months. “Even if regular screening shows negative, the AI will point to the cancer,” he said. Endoscopy can detect cancers early. Gatric and colon cancer can be detected at Stage 1 and removed immediately, he said.

The purpose of the conference was to create awareness about the availability of advanced technology to treat gastrointestinal problems.

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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 2:50:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/there-needs-to-be-aggressive-screening-for-gi-cancer-say-experts/article30897605.ece

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