In 2018, the Ministry of Health in Singapore reported that the leading cause of death among Singaporean is cancer. In fact, death by cancer averaged at 28.8% in that statistic. Stomach cancer is just one of the many cancerous diseases that can plague the body. 

This type of cancer is more common in Singaporean men, but it does not exclude women. Cancer may not always end in losing a life when the right treatment is given at the right time. By the “right time” we mean during the early stage of cancer. 

A lot of patients are being diagnosed with stomach cancer that is at an advanced and incurable stage more often than not. 

This occurrence can be prevented by detecting the existence the disease in its initial stage. How can this be done? By keeping the health of the stomach in check. One of the ways to do this is by undergoing gastroscopy. Gastroscopy in Singapore:

Detecting stomach cancer

A person who develops stomach cancer may not be aware of it as it rarely gives any sign or symptom during its onset. Doctors highly recommend that people who have an increased risk of getting this deadly disease should go for a screening in order to check whether they have it or not. 

Stomach cancer is common among people who have it in their family history, smokers, those diagnosed with gastric infection and other genetic conditions. When it comes to race, non-caucasians are at risk of developing stomach cancer more than others. An upper gastroscopy procedure is the best way to proceed with the stomach cancer screening.

A gastroscopy test can be done while the patient is awake or drowsy. When a patient undergoes the procedure wide awake, the first thing that the doctor will do is to administer a local anaesthetic to the back of the patient’s throat. 

The anaesthetic will take away the sensations from the throat, which will make it easier for the patient to swallow the gastroscope. As soon as the anaesthetic kicks in, the doctor will insert the gastroscope into the patient’s mouth and pass it down the throat to the esophagus. As the gastroscope traverses through the upper gastrointestinal tract, the camera attached to the tube produces images that can be seen on a monitor.

If the gastroscopy is done while the patient is drowsy, a mild sedative is injected into a vein in the arm of the patient. The dose is just enough to make the patient feel slightly sleepy, but at the same time conscious enough to hear and follow the doctor’s instructions. A patient is also given oxygen through a tube that is attached to the nose. 

To monitor the patient’s heart rate and oxygen levels, an oximeter is clipped on to a patient’s finger. The same steps follow through as mentioned above as the doctor inserts the gastroscopy device into the patient’s mouth.

To detect stomach cancer, the doctor will be on the lookout for lesions, abnormal growths, inflammation, obstructions or tumours that may be present in the tissue of your GI tract. Stomach cancer is usually looks like a mushroom-shaped mass or a stomach lining that looks like an old leather patch (linitis plastic).

When these symptoms are identified, the doctor gets tissue samples and sends these for a biopsy assessment.

Frequency of undergoing a gastroscopy

There is no standard guideline about how often a gastroscopy should be done by an individual. However, a lot of medical experts suggest that the procedure must be done within a five (5) to 10 year interval for people who are more prone to develop stomach cancer. It is always best to have your condition assessed and managed by a doctor in order to properly monitor your case, especially if symptoms of stomach cancer have been detected by gastroscopy.

Setting up an appointment for gastroscopy

Gastroenterologists are the experts in the diseases of the digestive system. They are your go-to persons when you need to a gastroscopy exam to be done. Gastroenterologists have undergone years of medical school, training, and additional years of education, specific to the study of the digestive system. Part of their training is the correct and safe use of the gastroscope.

Individuals who are at high risk of developing cancer should consider getting a gastroscopy test earlier in life. Aside from subjecting one’s body to this test, it is also important that certain precautions are followed to lower the risk of having stomach cancer. 

This includes making dietary adjustments. Stomach cancer thrives in foods that are salty, pickled, and smoked. These should be avoided and exchanged with much healthier choices, like vegetables and fruits. Smoking can also be a factor that can contribute to the growth of cancer cells in the stomach. Smokers that have increased risk of being diagnosed with this gastric disease must quit smoking to improve their quality of life.

If you wish to set an appointment with an expert gastroenterologist in Singapore, reach out to  Thomas Ho Surgery.