Abdominal Cancers

Due to the complex arrangement of organs, bones and tissue in the abdomen, there are a number of cancers that can affect this area.




Liver Cancer

There are two main types of liver cancer that need to be differentiated from each other. Primary liver cancer is a rare and aggressive type that starts off in the liver and can spread elsewhere, whereas secondary liver cancer is of a type that spreads to the liver from another part of the body. As secondary liver cancer is a complication of other associated cancers, we shall be talking just about primary liver cancer.

Symptoms

According to the NHS website, the signs of liver cancer don’t show up until the condition is well advanced, but when they do, they may include;

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling very full after eating, even if the meal was small
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the abdomen (tummy)
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and/or skin)
  • Fatigue
  • Itchy skin

If you do feel any of these symptoms, it’s better to get it checked out sooner rather than later.

Detection and diagnosis

Upon suspecting a problem, after experiencing one of the symptoms listed above, an MRI or CT scan can determine the exact nature of your problem.

Causes

The exact causes of liver cancer are unknown, but lifestyle can be a big factor. You are much more at risk if you have drunk alcohol to excess for years or are significantly overweight and can result in a condition known as Cirrhosis. It can also be as a complication of Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C.

Treatment

The fact that most cases of liver cancer are not detected in the early stages, means that typically, the disease has progressed to the point where only organ replacement remains an option, this is the most common course of action.
In the cases where it is caught early enough, a partial removal of affected tissue or microwave ablation can be used to destroy the affected cells.

For more information or for a chat with a medical professional, please contact us today.

Liver Cancer

With just over 10,000 cases per year, kidney cancer is the 8th most common cancer in the UK. Screening is so important with this type of cancer, as in half of all cases, there are no symptoms at all and is usually only picked up when testing for related conditions.

There are a number of different types of kidney cancer, but the vast majority of cases will be of a renal cell carcinoma type.

Symptoms

There are a few of symptoms that can occur which point to kidney cancer;

  • Blood in the urine
  • Constant pain in the abdomen just below the ribs
  • A lump or swollen area in the kidney vicinity

Detection and diagnosis

Once symptoms are being experienced or there is uncertainty about a diagnosis, an MRI or CT scan can help confirm what is happening inside. By creating a ‘slice by slice’ 3D image of your abdomen, the specialists can give you an accurate prognosis.

Causes

Triggers for the abnormal cell growth responsible for kidney cancer are still something of a mystery to medicine, but if you are a smoker or overweight, then this can contribute. Age is also a factor, as it is most common in people over the age of 50.

As with all cancers, it is imperative that it is detected as early as possible. Up to 90% of cases where it is discovered in the first stages, the person will live over 5 years if treated successfully.

Treatment

Chemotherapy is not very effective against kidney cancer, but radiotherapy is and is used in the more advanced cases. The first plan of attack is usually surgery to removed the affected tissue.

If you have any worries about kidney cancer or would just like to have a chat with a professional, please do contact us today.

Stomach Cancer

In the UK, around 5,000 people die from stomach cancer each year.
Overall, around 15% of people with stomach cancer will live at least five years after diagnosis and about 11% will live at least 10 years.

There are a variety of different types of stomach cancer, but over 95% of cases will be adenocarcinoma of the stomach and will start in the gastric lining.

Symptoms

Cancer of the stomach is a disease that very often goes unnoticed, as the symptoms experienced can be easily confused with much more minor conditions. They include;

  • Persistent heartburn
  • Persistent stomach pain
  • Trapped wind and frequent burping
  • Feeling very bloated after meals

If the cancer is allowed to progress to a more advanced stage, other symptoms that can develop include;

  • Blood in stools
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite

Detection and diagnosis

Once it is determined that there might be a problem due to any of the symptoms listed above, further tests will be needed.
There are a couple of procedures that may confirm the diagnosis;

  1. An upper endoscopy is a procedure during which a tiny camera is passed down the throat to see what is happening inside. A biopsy is normally taken at the same time, sampling a small amount of tissue from inside the stomach.
  2. A less invasive ultrasonic sound wave test can produce results with much less impact on the patient. It is performed in exactly the same way it would be on a pregnant woman.

Causes

Like a number of cancers, the specific cause of stomach cancer is unknown, but as always, there can be a number of contributing factors;

  • Being a man
  • Having a bacterial stomach infection known as Helicobacter Pylori
  • Being a smoker
  • Eating a large amount of salty or vinegary foods

Treatment

There are a large number of stomach cancers that are incurable, but palliative care (easing of symptoms) exists in the form of chemotherapy, surgery and sometimes radiotherapy.

More drastic treatment includes a gastrectomy (removal of the stomach), which is perhaps not as bad as it sounds, as it is still possible to eat normally afterwards if attention is paid to portion sizes.

If you have concerns relating to stomach cancer or you would just like some more information, then please, do contact us today.

Bowel Cancer

Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK, with around 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year. About one in every 20 people in the UK will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime.

The term ‘bowel cancer’ is a generic one for cancer that originates from the large intestine. The individual types of cancers within the bowel are named after where they begin, e.g. if it begins in the rectum, then it will be called rectal cancer.

Symptoms

There are 3 main signs that you may have bowel cancer and they are;

  • Frequent looser stools
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in the stool

As these symptoms are very common can be attributed to minor conditions, such as haemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome (ibs) and can be overlooked in the earlier stages. Typically, bowel cancer suffers are over 60 years old and the condition gets more prevalent in advancing years. If cancer is present, the chances are, you will experience one or more of the following;

  • A prolonged altering of bowel habit with more frequent toilet visits, usually with or without blood in the stool
  • Blood in the stool on its own, without other symptoms
  • Pain the abdomen after every meal, no matter what the size

Detection and diagnosis

If you are presenting any of these symptoms, it is important to seek advice, as a doctor could quickly allay your fears with a simple examination of your bottom and tummy and a blood test.

If further examination is needed, a colonoscopy and biopsy may be carried out to get a better diagnosis. All men and women aged 60-74 are invited to carry out an FOB (faecal occult blood) test at home. They’re sent the home test kit every two years through the post, until they reach the age of 74.

The FOB test checks for the presence of blood in a stool sample, which could be an early sign of bowel cancer.

An additional one-off test called bowel scope screening is gradually being introduced in England. This is offered to men and women at the age of 55. As of March 2015, about two thirds of screening centres were beginning to offer this test to 55 year olds. It involves a doctor or nurse using a thin flexible instrument to look inside the lower part of the bowel and remove any small growths, called polyps, that could eventually turn into cancer.

Causes

The root cause of bowel cancer is not known, but there are possible contributing factors that may increase your risk;

  • Age – 90% of bowel cancer occurs in those over 60
  • Diet – Regular consumption of red meat combined with a low-fibre diet
  • Weight – Bowel cancer is more prevalent in those who are overweight
  • Exercise – A sedentary lifestyle adds to the risk
  • Alcohol/smoking – Amongst many other risks to your health, they can help cause bowel cancer
  • Family history – if a close family member contracts bowel cancer under the age of 50

Treatment

If cancer is found to be present, then the three main types of treatment are chemotherapy and radiotherapy, both of which aim to destroy cancerous cells using medication and radiation respectively and surgery to remove the affected bowel. The success or failure of these treatments depends largely on where the cancer is and as with all cancer, early detection can help your chances of survival greatly. If you have any worries regarding bowel cancer, please contact us today for a friendly chat.