Digestive cancer: “There are more and more means to diagnose and treat”
Digestive cancer kills one Portuguese per hour, according to the estimate of the Portuguese Society of Gastroenterology, which has seen an increase in the number of cases during the last recent years. At the same time, it is also a fact that there are more and more means to fight against the disease, especially when diagnosed at an early stage, as pointed out by the gastroenterologist Marília Cravo in TVI’s Morning Edition, on January 25.
Like all other oncological diseases, digestive cancer (colon and rectum, stomach, liver, pancreas and oesophagus) has increased due to the raise in life expectancy and factors related to poor eating habits, obesity and sedentariness. «But the outlook isn’t all bad, as it is also true that we have more and more capability to fight against this disease and to obtain increasingly better results through surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, all of them more and better targeted therapies», explained the specialist, deputy coordinator of the Oncology Center at Hospital da Luz Lisboa and director of the gastroenterology Department at Hospital Beatriz Ângelo (HBA).
«We need to be fully alert, not only the people, but general practitioners and specialists, because it is fundamental that the diagnosis be made in an early stage of the illness. That completely changes the prognosis», she added, reminding that symptoms such as sudden weight loss, lack of appetite and general malaise are not to be devalued. Medical assistance responsiveness is also important. «At the HBA we work very closely with Loures and Odivelas health centres and we have established referencing channels», she also stated.
Let’s remember that, by accreditation from the Ministry of Health, HBA is the national reference centre for the treatment of hepatobiliary, pancreatic and rectal cancers and that Hospital da Luz Lisboa is the national reference centre for rectal cancer.