Gastrointestinal Cancer Surgeon

Dr. Nikhil Shellagi

MS Surgery, DNB Surgical Gastroenterology Fellowship in HPB and Liver Transplantation

Surgeries Performed


Best Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment in Bangalore

Gastrointestinal Cancer Surgeon

Gastrointestinal Cancer: What Is It?

A set of tumours that affect the digestive system and gastrointestinal tract are referred to as gastrointestinal (GI) cancers collectively. These malignancies start as lumps or ulcers in the stomach and then diffusely spread to various areas of the stomach.

GI cancer includes cancers of the:

  • Small intestine
  • Pancreas
  • Colon
  • Anus
  • Rectum
  • Oesophagus
  • Liver
  • Gallbladder
  • Stomach
  • Biliary tract

Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Cancer

Depending on the type of cancer a person has, the signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal cancer can change.

It could contain:

  • Discomfort and soreness in the abdomen.
  • Unexpected changes in bowel habits, such as in their regularity, frequency, or shape
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Swelling in your stomach
  • Weakness or feeling tired
  • Yellowish eyes or skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Heartburn

What stages exist for gastric cancer?

Stage I:

The top layer of tissues lining the stomach or esophagus are the only parts of the malignant mass in stage one. Additionally, a few nearby lymph nodes may experience tumour spread.

Stage II:

At this stage, the cancer tumour has deepened and reached the muscle layer of the stomach or oesophagus. Additionally, the cancerous cells may spread to additional lymph nodes.

Stage III:

At this point, cancer cells have spread to every layer of the oesophagus or stomach. Additionally, they could spread widely to the lymph nodes and adjacent organs.

Stage IV:

At this point, cancer has spread to every nook and cranny of the body.

What disease can be treated with gastrointestinal oncology?

The treatment of many malignant disorders affecting the gastrointestinal system and digestive organs falls under the broad category of gastrointestinal oncology.

The Diseases Treatable with Gastrointestinal oncology include:

  • Anal cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Primary Liver Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Bile Duct Cancer
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Carcinoid Tumors
  • Stomach (Gastric)
  • Cancer
  • Gallbladder Cancer

Gastrointestinal Cancer Diagnosis

To diagnose and identify the spread of cancer your GI oncology doctor may conduct several tests including:
Endoscopic examinations: 
In this procedure, a tiny camera on a thin tube is inserted down the throat and into the stomach. The tissue is sent for analysis if there is any indication of malignancy (biopsy).
Following endoscopic methods: 

  • Colonoscopy
  •  Upper GI Endoscopy

Imaging Studies: 
Imaging processes use automated methods and special X-ray exams to detect stomach tumours.

  • MRI Scan
  • Barium Studies
  • CT Scan
  • Contrast Studies
  • PET Scan
  • Diagnostic Laparoscopy

Risk Factors Involved in Gastrointestinal Cancer

The following are the main risk factors for gastrointestinal cancer:

  • excessive alcohol consumption and smoking
  • growing age
  • A case of Epstein-Barr virus
  • high in animal fat diet
  • Type-A blood type and chronic pancreatitis
  • surgery for a stomach ulcer
  • specific genes
  • asbestos contamination
  • Obesity
  • diets rich in salt or meals not properly maintained.
  • working in the rubber, lumber, metal, or coal industries.

Treatments for Gastrointestinal Cancer

There are several treatment options available for cancers of the digestive tract and below.

These may include therapies, surgical procedures, or a combination of the two.

Surgical Processes: 

Gastroesophageal cancer that has not yet spread to other parts (metastasized) can be treated using surgical processes. 

The affected areas having malignancy with a margin of healthy tissues are removed along with lymph nodes. 

The range of surgical treatments available here:

  • Endoluminal Laser Process: This process involves removing cancer tumors of an early stage found in the digestive tract.
  • Open Surgery: This method involves using conventional methods to treat cancer-affected areas.
  • Laparoscopic Surgery: This is a minimally invasive procedure with less operational morbidity and downtime.

Radiation therapy: Radiation treatment is a common method for treating gastrointestinal cancers. It entails employing high-energy radiation to treat cancer cells and prevent their recurrence.

To eliminate malignant cells, high-intensity energy beams such as protons and X-rays are used.

Radiation therapy is also performed before surgery (neoadjuvant radiation) to reduce the size of the tumour so that it can be removed easily.

It is also utilised after surgery to kill cancer cells that may have been missed.

When radiation and chemotherapy are used concurrently to treat gastroesophageal junction cancer, the treatment is known as chemoradiotherapy.

This is mainly performed before surgery. Radiation therapy, on the other hand, may be employed in most advanced cases to alleviate the negative effects caused by big tumours.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a drug-based treatment in which chemicals are used to kill cancer cells.

Chemotherapy medications flow throughout your body, killing cancer cells before they spread to nearby tissues and essential organs. Local recurrence of cancer cells can be prevented with chemotherapy.

This procedure is done before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) to shrink the tumour so that it may be removed easily. Adjuvant chemotherapy is used after surgery to eradicate any leftover cancer cells in the body.

Immunotherapy: This procedure entails the use of medications to boost the body’s immunity or natural defence against cancer-causing cells.

Using certain medications restores a patient’s immune system so that it can treat problems or kill cancer cells.

Immunotherapy targets specific proteins, genes, and tissue environments that are responsible for cancer growth.

The following targeted medications may be recommended by your GI Oncology doctor:

  • Herceptin
  • Cyramza
  • Sutent
  • Stivarga
  • Gleevec

Along with surgery, a gastrointestinal oncology specialist may recommend chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiation therapy.

This multimodal approach enables doctors to treat the remaining cancer cells thoroughly, preventing their proliferation.

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