Families are being devastated
by deaths due to digestive cancers
Next to lung cancer, digestive cancers kill more Canadians than any other type of cancer. With gastrointestinal (Gi) cancers accounting for roughly 15% of
all cancers, the most common are esophageal, stomach and colon.
Depending on the type of cancer, certain symptoms and risk factors are more likely to occur.
symptoms may include trouble swallowing or pain behind the breastbone while associated risk factors include excessive drinking and smoking, heartburn and inhalants.
symptoms may include trouble swallowing, heartburn, gastrointestinal bleeding, tarry-looking stools. Risk factors associated with stomach cancer are higher in people aged 50-59 and include excessive drinking, smoking, consumption of smoked and highly processed foods.
symptoms may include diarrhea or constipation, narrow or bloody stools, weight loss, nausea/vomiting, gas, bloating and/or fatigue. Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease so it is important to be screened. The risk factors associated with colon cancer are higher in people aged 50 years or older and those who have a family history, a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and a prior diagnosis of polyps or early-stage colon cancer.
Early and accurate diagnosis of a digestive cancer is critical for successful treatment. Digestive cancers can be detected with stool and/or blood samples, X-ray, CT or MRI scan, an esophagoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.
Know your options for treatment of digestive cancers. This will depend on the nature of the tumour, stage of the cancer, and the patient's state of health. Treatments may include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, endoscopic therapy and surgery.
Reduce your risk of developing digestive cancer by taking protective measures. This include not smoking, eating a low-fat, well balanced diet and limiting the use of alcohol.
Learn more about how to protect yourself -- at the people you love -- at