Joanne | gutCARE

The Reasons Why We Hiccup and How To Make Them Stop

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November 30, 2020 Blog

We all have experienced hiccups from time to time. They can be uncomfortable or even embarrassing, but they are typically short-lived. However, sometimes they can indicate a more serious health issue.

If you have recurring or long-term hiccups, do seek medical help. Early diagnosis can open doors to treatment which can prevent future complications. Here are some causes of hiccups and how you can make them stop!

What are hiccups?

Hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm – the major muscle of respiration. Each contraction is followed by the sudden close in the vocal cords, which makes the distinct “hic” sound from your mouth. Hiccups are generally harmless as they resolve themselves after a few minutes.

Hiccups that lasts longer than 48 hours are defined as chronic hiccups. Chronic hiccups can cause gastroesophageal reflux which may lead to symptoms like heartburn, pain when swallowing, or bloating.

Why do hiccups happen?

Hiccups can happen because of many reasons – both physical and emotional. The common reasons include:

  • Eating or drinking too much or too fast: The stomach, which lies right underneath the diaphragm, expands after eating. This could trigger hiccups by pressing on or irritating your diaphragm.
  • Emotional triggers: Emotions like stress, anxiety, or excitement can trigger hiccups. This is due to the disturbance in the nerve pathways that lead from the brain to the muscles between the ribs.
  • Temperature changes: A change of temperature in your esophagus can cause hiccups. It is related to the irritation or stimulation of the nerves that cause the diaphragm to contract. For example, eating very spicy and acidic foods or drinking very cold liquids can sometimes trigger hiccups.

Hiccups are rarely a cause for concern, but if it is affecting your quality of life, it is time to get it checked. Persistent and frequent hiccups could point at serious health issues, including cancer. For example, some types of cancers where individuals may experience hiccups are stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, and lung cancer. This can happen when a tumour is pressing against the diaphragm. Persistent hiccups could also be due to a problem with the brain, blood composition, or the stomach.

If you are experiencing symptoms like severe abdominal pain, vomiting, fever, shortness of breath, or spitting up blood, do consult a doctor for an in-depth examination.

What are some ways to stop hiccups?

There is no one cure for hiccups that works for everyone. However, there are several well-known home remedies you could try. These include:

  • Holding your breath for a short time
  • Taking a few sips of ice-cold water
  • Having a taste of lemon or vinegar
  • Experiencing a sudden fright

For more severe hiccups that cannot be cured by home remedies, visiting a doctor would be recommended, especially if the hiccups persist for more than 3 hours. Specialists can diagnose the cause of hiccups and give you the best possible medical treatment. A doctor may prescribe medications such as Thorazine, Haldol, or Reglan. Thorazine and Haldol are sometimes used for hiccups related to stress or anxiety. Reglan is an anti-nausea medication that may help some people with hiccups.

Conclusion

The occasional hiccup attacks are normal, but when it becomes frequent and longer-lasting, it could be a sign for a serious medical condition. Remember to take persisting hiccups seriously and visit a professional who can help you. Prevention is better than cure!


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November 26, 2020 Blog

Having a few occasional burps after a full meal is normal. But if it happens frequently and way more than usual, it could be a sign of health problems.

Burping is the body’s way of getting rid of excess air in your digestive tract. So why does it happen? When you swallow food, it goes through your oesophagus and into the stomach. The acid, bacteria, and chemicals inside your stomach will break the food down into nutrients and convert it into energy. So when you swallow air along with food and drinks, those gasses can come back up – this happens, for example, after drinking a carbonated beverage or beer.

Swallowing air is the most common reason for burping, but there are many more possible causes that you might not be aware of. Read on to find out the other possible causes for burping!

What causes us to burp?

Besides swallowing an excessive amount of air when you are eating or drinking, there are some medical conditions that include burping as a symptom. Some of these may require you to get immediate medical attention. 

  • Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD): Gastrointestinal reflux disease, also known as acid reflux, is a disorder that causes acid from the stomach to flow upwards into the oesophagus, causing heartburn. This can be treated with over-the-counter medicines, but if the symptoms of heartburn are frequent and severe, it is best to get it checked.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic disorder that affects the digestive system. Certain foods can trigger it, so can stress, anxiety, and infections. Symptoms of IBS include burping, constipation, and abdominal pain. While there is no cure for this medical condition, a change in lifestyle and medications can help reduce the symptoms.
  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection: Helicobacter pylori is a type of bacteria that causes infections in the stomach. It could sometimes cause inflammation that allows acid to eat away at the digestive tract, leading to the formation of stomach ulcers. You may feel a burning sensation in your stomach, burping, bloating, or abdominal pain. 

How can I stop burping?

Here are a few lifestyle changes that will help reduce burping:

  • Eat and drink slowly: Taking your time can help you swallow less air.
  • Don’t smoke: When you inhale cigarette smoke, you are also swallowing air.
  • Talk a walk after eating: Physical activities will help with digestion.
  • Avoid chewing gum: Chewing gum or even sucking on hard candy causes you to swallow air.
  • Take an antacid: This helps neutralise stomach acid and prevent heartburn.

Conclusion

If you experience excessive burping that does not stop after a week, talk to a doctor. It could be an underlying medical condition that needs immediate care. This is especially true when it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as abdominal pain or heartburn. A specialist can determine the most effective treatments and medications for you.


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November 17, 2020 Blog

Many reasons can cause pain in the lower right abdomen. Some of these causes are severe and may need immediate medical attention. The abdomen is the body space between the chest and pelvis. It contains all the digestive organs, and the lower right portion of the abdomen contains a part of the colon, right kidney, and the appendix.

Abdominal pain is never normal, so it is vital to get it checked out when you have serious symptoms. The presence of different symptoms can help identify the cause or decide whether you need immediate care. Read on to learn more about the causes for pain in the lower right abdomen!

The common causes of lower right abdominal pain

Most of the time, lower right abdominal pain comes from minor and temporary conditions. Here are some common causes of them:

Indigestion

The pain in the lower right abdomen could be a result of indigestion, which may be accompanied by other symptoms such as heartburn and flatulence. Over-the-counter medicine from your local pharmacy could help you manage occasional cases of indigestion. However, if the symptoms last for more than 2 weeks, you may need more serious medical attention.

Gas

Gas can build up in the intestines when food is not digested properly. This may cause feelings of discomfort and bloating. Other symptoms include burping and passing gas.

Constipation

Constipation is infrequent bowel movements or having difficulty passing stools that persists for a few days. In more serious cases, chronic constipation can last for several weeks. In addition to feeling pain in the lower right abdomen, some other symptoms include having hard or lumpy stools, straining to have bowel movements, or feeling blockage in your rectum.

Serious causes of lower right abdominal pain

In some cases, lower right abdominal pain can indicate a more serious medical condition. These conditions require immediate medical care:

Appendicitis

Appendicitis is the infection of the appendix. This happens when the appendix is blocked by waste, a foreign object in your body, or cancer. It is a medical emergency and mostly requires you to have immediate surgery to remove the appendix. Appendicitis typically comes with symptoms like vomiting, loss of appetite, fever, and pain in your lower right abdomen.

 Kidney stones

Kidney stones are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside the kidney. When it passes through the urinary system, some of the larger stones may get stuck and cause severe pain to the abdomen, lower back, and groin. Some other symptoms experienced may include blood in the urine, pain when urinating, vomiting, and feeling nauseous.

Kidney infection

The kidney can become infected due to bacteria in the urinary system. Although it is less severe than kidney stones, it can cause pain that is felt in the lower abdomen, and medical attention is required to prevent any permanent damage.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a chronic condition of the digestive system that has to be managed long-term. The symptoms include abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea or constipation. It should be taken seriously when you notice a persistent change in bowel habits or other symptoms as they may indicate a more serious condition, such as colon cancer.

Conclusion

Mild abdominal pain that goes away on its own may not require any medical treatment. However, if you have any persisting, severe, stabbing, or sudden pain, you should talk to a medical professional, as you never know when it might be a life-threatening condition.


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November 11, 2020 Blog

Left abdominal pain is an ache or discomfort you feel towards the left side of your tummy. Although experiencing pain in the left abdomen is a common problem, frequent and persistent pain should never be ignored.

Usually, minor pain in this area is nothing to worry about and may clear up in a day or two. But if you are experiencing swelling in the abdomen, fever, or bloody stools, visit a doctor immediately as they could be a sign of a serious condition. It’s always better to get it diagnosed sooner than later!

Read on to learn more about the causes of left abdominal pain and when you should see a doctor!

Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is one of the most common causes of pain, specifically in the lower left abdomen. It occurs when pouches in the intestinal wall called diverticula, become infected and inflamed. Some symptoms may include vomiting, fever, nausea, or feeling bloated. For mild diverticulitis, getting some rest and taking antibiotics may help. But for more serious cases, surgery might be required. 

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is a chronic condition that occurs in the digestive tract when a person cannot digest gluten, which is a protein found in wheat and other grains. This condition causes a person’s immune system to attack portions of their intestine, which cause a range of digestive problems. Some signs of celiac disease may include pain in the abdomen, constipation, weight loss, and diarrhoea.

Gas

Gas in the digestive tract can cause pain and discomfort in either side of the abdomen. It is usually the result of swallowing air. Generally, gas is not serious, but if the pain is persistent or is accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, heartburn, or constipation, talk to your doctor. 

Indigestion

Indigestion often occurs after eating spicy, greasy, and fatty foods. Smoking or drinking can also trigger it. It typically comes with symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, or heartburn. Some over-the-counter medications can ease the discomfort.

Kidney stones

Kidney stones can cause great pain when it moves around. A person’s diet, weight, and genes are possible causes for developing kidney stones. Depending on your situation, kidney stones can be managed by taking some pain medication and drinking lots of water until they are passed out in urine, or you may need surgery if the stones become lodged in the urinary tract.

Conclusion

Seeing a doctor for abdominal pain is vital when there are unexplainable or persistent symptoms. Let your doctor know the symptoms you are experiencing so that they can help develop a treatment plan. Remember, having a healthy diet and lifestyle can decrease the chances of certain abdominal pain!


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October 26, 2020 Blog

Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of the pancreas. Normally, a pancreas releases enzymes that aid digestion and produce hormones that regulates blood sugar. Exocrine cells produce the digestive juices, while endocrine cells produce the hormones. Majority of pancreatic cancer starts in exocrine cells, while a small minority begin in the endocrine cells.

Pancreatic cancer often causes digestive issues like bloated stomach, vomiting, and impacts one’s appetite. This is because the affected functions of the pancreas makes digesting food more challenging than normal. Thus it is important to have a good diet plan to maintain good nutrition, combat symptoms, and aid in the treatment journey. Here are some beneficial foods to eat!

Protein-rich foods

Protein helps the body to repair cells and tissues. It also helps to keep your immune system strong. This is important for your body to fight the cancer, recover from treatments, and ensure you do not fall ill with other illnesses. It is also important to eat foods that are easy to digest as pancreatic tumours can affect your digestion. Here are some easy-to-digest protein sources:

  • Eggs
  • Poultry
  • Tofu
  • Nut butters
  • Beans

Fruits and vegetables

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables provide your body with antioxidants, which helps in your fight against cancer. Cooked vegetables are recommended instead of raw ones. Berries, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are high in antioxidants, fibre and phytochemicals. Here are some options:

  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Spinach

Eat healthy fats

Avoid eating fried, greasy, and fatty foods, as such foods are difficult to digest and frequently lead to stomach pain or discomfort. Choose foods that are baked, broiled or grilled instead. Healthy sources of fats are needed to help supply your body with energy and maintain body temperature, so here are some foods with healthy fats you should consume:

  • Avocado
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

High-fibre starches

Carbohydrate and fibre help keep your energy up. Fibre plays a big role in maintaining gut health and reducing the risk of developing certain cancers such as colon cancer. It also lowers the glycaemic load of a meal and can improve insulin sensitivity and blood glucose levels. Some examples of high-fibre carbohydrate sources are:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Beans
  • Brown rice
  • Wholegrain oatmeal

Drink more liquids

Water and other liquids help in digestion and also reduce fatigue and nausea. You can also try consuming smoothies that contain calories to help maintain your weight. Fluids will aid your body in clearing toxins and waste. It is recommended to have between 6-12 cups per day. To make drinking water more palatable, you can try flavour-infused waters using your favourite fruits, vegetables and herbs!

Conclusion

Choosing the right things to eat will reduce some pancreatic cancer symptoms and also help you stay energised, aiding your fight with cancer. Remember to choose easily digestible foods! You should also consult your doctor or dietitian to work out a plan that will best suit your current needs.


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October 19, 2020 Blog

Pancreatic cancer is known to be one of the most difficult cancers to treat, mainly because many cases do not present early symptoms. When present, many pancreatic cancer symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain, and general weakness can be easily overlooked as symptoms of other factors. Apart from low awareness of recognising pancreatic cancer symptoms, many people have many misconceptions about the disease, leading to late diagnoses and low screening rates.

To increase your defence against pancreatic cancer, here are some misconceptions about the disease we need to quell.

Myth #1: Pancreatic cancer screenings tests are readily available.

Colon cancer has the colonoscopy, and cervical cancer has the Pap smear, but pancreatic cancer has no one definitive screening test. Instead, pancreatic cancer is usually detected through a battery of tests like MRI or endoscopic ultrasound, and biopsies.

Usually, these imaging and lab tests are only conducted when there are already symptoms present. That is why pancreatic cancer is quite difficult to detect as compared to some other cancers with readily available tests for the general public.

Myth #2: Surgery for pancreatic cancer may cause it to spread to other parts of the body.

In some cases, a patient’s condition may seem to worsen after surgery, or the doctor may find more tumours in the body than originally thought. However, this does not mean that surgery causes cancer to spread.

Pain and discomfort after surgery is normal, and in some cases the condition seems to worsen because of these. When a doctor finds more tumours in the body, it is not that the cancer has spread, but that they might not have detected those tumours in previous imaging tests.

Instead, surgery directly helps to reduce the spread of cancer cells by removing these tissues. Cancer is also not spreadable through the air – it is not like airborne viruses.

Myth #3: Pancreatic cancer is always deadly.

Contrary to what some may believe, pancreatic cancers can be treated. Early detection of pancreatic cancer often leads to successful treatment. Unfortunately, it is difficult to detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages, during which treatment is known to be most successful.

As a result, pancreatic cancer is often detected only in the later stages, when the cancer has already spread to other areas in the body. At this point, the cancer is difficult to treat even with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Myth #4: There is only one type of pancreatic cancer.

Not all pancreatic cancers are the same, and they should not be treated the same way. There are 2 main types of pancreatic cancer. Most pancreatic cancers are exocrine pancreatic cancer, which affect the exocrine glands and ducts of the pancreas. The other type of pancreatic cancer, making up only less than 5% of cases, develops from the endocrine gland or islet cells of the pancreas.

Knowing the type of pancreatic cancer helps doctors perform more targeted treatments for the particular type of cancer cells and affected tissues.

Myth #5: Pancreatic cancer is strictly hereditary.

Generally, only around 5-10% of pancreatic cancers are from hereditary causes. In these cases, certain genetic mutations are passed down from parents to their children which can significantly raise the risk of the offspring getting pancreatic cancer. By contrast, the majority of pancreatic cancers are due to genetic mutations that occur during the individual’s lifetime.

Other factors that have been found to contribute to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer are old age, obesity, and smoking, as well as health conditions like diabetes.

Conclusion

It is always important to distinguish the facts from myths to better understand the risks and treatments associated with pancreatic cancer. Not only can this help you get a better idea of what pancreatic cancer is and isn’t, but it can also help you educate others about the disease.

Should you find that you are suffering from symptoms similar to pancreatic cancer, it is best to consult a health professional. They can help you to identify any diseases early, and advise you on the next steps to take. By speaking to a health professional, you can further understand more about your health and body!


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October 13, 2020 Blog

Colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among both men and women. Colorectal cancer, which includes cancers of the colon or rectum, often start as a growth called a polyp, on the inner lining of the colon. It can cause a variety of gut-related symptoms, and endanger one’s health if the cancer spreads to other organs in the body.

Since colon cancer is so common, anyone can be at risk of getting it. However, the good news is, you can lower your risk of colorectal cancer by making the right choices in your diet or lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you keep colon cancer at bay.

Maintain a healthy weight

As you may know, being overweight or obese increases your risk of having serious health conditions like diabetes, pancreatic cancer, and colon cancer. There are several possible explanations of how obesity raises the risk of getting colon cancer.

Obesity increases the risk for inflammation in the body, including in the large intestines. Increased blood levels of insulin in obese persons can also promote the growth of cancer cells, such as in the colon walls. Obesity is also strongly associated with higher leptin production, which acts as a growth factor to promote tumour growth.

Adopt a high-fibre, low-fat diet

Dietary fats from red meat and processed meat are contributors to the increased risk of colon cancer. High fat consumption will increase the production of bile acids. When large amounts of bile acid is converted to secondary bile acids, this could promote tumour growth. Instead, eating more fibre-rich foods have been found to lower one’s chances of contracting colon cancer. Example of high fibre foods are vegetables, fruits and grains.

Be physically active

Higher levels of physical activity have been linked to a lower risk of colon cancer. Physical activities include walking, running, swimming and many more. Exercise has many positive effects on the body, and lowering the risk for colon cancer is one of them.

Regular physical activity keeps blood insulin levels in check, and facilitates healthy bowel movement, reducing the time that food spends in the gastrointestinal tract. Exercise can also alter the metabolism of bile acids, reducing the risk of bile-acid-initiated colon cancer.

Don’t smoke

Needless to say, smoking is bad for your health. Smoking is linked to an increased risk of colon cancer, as well as many other health problems. When you smoke, you are inhaling chemicals and toxins into your body, including free radicals that damage DNA and mutate healthy cells. Free radicals can influence the growth of more aggressive polyps in the large intestines, thus increasing the risk of colon cancer.

Limit alcohol

Drinking alcohol increases the risk of colon cancer. The body metabolises alcohol by breaking it down into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde can damage DNA in colon cells and cause mutations of cells that increases your risk of polyps.

Conclusion

Although colon cancer more commonly affects older adults, smokers, and drinkers, no one is perfectly safe from it. Use these tips to lower your risk, and keep up with regular check-ups and screenings to identify early colon cancer symptoms before it’s too late!


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October 8, 2020 Blog

Are you suffering from heartburn or bloating? These digestive issues are common and we often turn to home remedies or over-the-counter medication for these ailments. However, what if the symptoms are an indication of a much more serious condition?

It is important to note that certain gut symptoms and seemingly minor conditions can also lead to more serious gastrointestinal diseases, such as colon cancer. While an occasional gut problem may not always be a sign of a potentially dangerous disease, it is vital to know how your gut problems may escalate or increase your risk for other significant health conditions. Here are 4 common gut problems that can lead to serious health problems that you shouldn’t ignore.

1. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

You could be experiencing irritable bowel syndrome if you find yourself often feeling bloated and gassy, or consistently suffering from constipation or diarrhoea. Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic condition of the colon that involves changes to one’s bowel habits.

Some of the factors that cause IBS include inflammation or infection of the gut, stress, or diet. It is important to note that IBS is not life-threatening, but in severe cases, they can significantly impact one’s quality of life. Apart from gut discomfort, other effects include depression and malnutrition.

While IBS does not increase one’s risk of contracting colon cancer, the cancer’s symptoms can be easily mistaken as IBS. Thus, if you suspect you might have IBS, make sure to consult a gastroenterologist for a thorough examination to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.

2. Gastritis

Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining, which can manifest as an acute or chronic condition. Here are a few causes and risk factors of gastritis you should know:

Most cases of gastritis are not serious, but in some cases, can result in stomach ulcers or even stomach cancer. Some common symptoms associated with gastritis are:

  • Indigestion and nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the upper abdomen

You should consult a health professional immediately if these symptoms are accompanied by blood in the stools, or black, tarry stools.

3. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

This condition is also known as acid reflux or heartburn, and it describes the condition when food, fluids or stomach acid moves back up from the stomach and into the oesophagus. When this happens, you may feel a burning sensation in or around the stomach and chest area, nausea, and a bitter or sour taste in your mouth.

The leading causes of GERD are smoking, excessive alcohol intake, stress, spicy foods, and other digestive issues. While GERD is not an uncommon issue, it should not go unchecked as it has the potential to cause lasting damage to one’s oesophagus over a prolonged period. Some of these effects include ulcers, scarring, and an increased risk of oesophageal cancer.

4. Indigestion

The most common symptoms of indigestion are bloating, frequent flatulence or belching, and nausea. However, there may also be no symptoms of indigestion at all, apart from dull pain or a general discomfort located in the upper abdomen.

The causes of indigestion can range from excessive consumption of oily or spicy foods, anxiety or stress, to underlying gastrointestinal disorders (such as GERD or ulcers). While the occasional indigestion episode is normal, frequent rounds of indigestion should not be ignored, as these could be symptoms of more serious gut problems. Your doctor may recommend a stool test or endoscopy to diagnose the condition.

Seek help from health professionals

All of the gut problems faced above can lead to serious health issues if they are not properly checked or treated by a health professional. For instance, if you find yourself suffering from pancreatic cancer symptoms and you are unsure, it is best to seek a health professional or a doctor without delay. They can offer you a check-up on these diseases, help you understand more about your health and your body, and recommend treatments for your condition.

Speak to a health professional today and let them guide you towards a healthier you.


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September 30, 2020 Blog

A common way to describe a cancer diagnosis is by the stage of the disease. Typically, most cancers have 4 or 5 stages, with a higher number denoting a more advanced state of the disease. In the case of colon cancer, there are 5 stages, starting from stage 0 and progressing to stage 4.

Understanding the stage of cancer of yourself or a loved one is crucial, as it helps you understand what is going on in the body, and what to expect in terms of treatment and recovery prospects. Rather than panic or be misled by misconceptions upon receiving a colon cancer diagnosis, it is always helpful to have a little background information to know how it works.

The TNM staging system

There are, in fact, several different systems for staging cancer. By far, the most commonly used is the TNM system, which stands for Tumour, Node, and Metastasis. To determine how advanced the cancer is, three parameters are considered:

  • Tumour: This is concerned with the size of the primary (original) tumour, and whether or how far it has grown into the affected organ or nearby areas.
  • Node: This refers to whether nearby lymph nodes have been affected by the tumour .
  • Metastasis: The spread of cancer cells to distant sites such as other organs is assessed.

Each of these parameters has their own levels, where a higher number indicates a more advanced condition. For example, T1 means that the tumour has not grown beyond the inner wall of the colon (called the mucosa), while T4 would mean it has completely grown through the wall of the colon.

Using these three areas of consideration, the stage grouping of the cancer can be determined.

Stages of colon cancer

The four stages of colon cancer are described below, with some stages further categorised into A, B or C:

  • Stage 0: In this earliest stage of colon cancer, the tumour has not grown beyond the mucosa.
  • Stage 1: The cancer has begun to grow into the next layer of the colon (called submucosa). At this point, it has not spread to nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage 2: The tumour has now grown beyond the mucosa and submucosa, but has not yet reached the lymph nodes.
    • Stage 2A: The tumour has reached the outermost layer of the colon, but has not grown through it.
    • Stage 2B: The tumour has completely gone through the colon wall to the visceral peritoneum (the membrane that contains the abdominal organs).
    • Stage 2C: The cancer cells have spread to nearby organs and structures, beyond the colon.
  • Stage 3: In stage 3, the lymph nodes begin to be affected by cancer cells, as they continue to spread.
    • Stage 3A: The tumour has penetrated the colon walls and has reached nearby lymph nodes.
    • Stage 3B: The tumour has penetrated the visceral peritoneum, and can be found in 1 to 3 lymph nodes. Or, the tumour has not gone through the colon walls completely, but is found in 4 or more lymph nodes in the vicinity.
    • Stage 3C: Cancer cells have proliferated beyond the colon wall and can be found in four or more nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage 4: In the most advanced stage of colon cancer, the cancer has spread to distant sites in the body.
    • Stage 4A: Cancer cells have spread to one distant site, for example, the lungs or liver.
    • Stage 4B: Cancer has spread to two or more distant sites.

Treatment for colon cancer by stage

At the different stages, the recommended treatment for colon cancer also differs. Generally, the more advanced the stage, the harsher the treatments need to be.

Stage 0, stage 1: Surgery is usually sufficient to remove the tumour.

Stage 2: Surgery can be performed to remove cancerous cells in the colon. Chemotherapy may be recommended for high-risk or high-grade cases.

Stage 3: The tumour on the organ and nearby lymph nodes can be removed by surgery, before commencing with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may also be recommended in some cases.

Stage 4: Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and occasionally, targeted therapy may all be used in conjunction to treat the disease.

Prognosis for colon cancer patients

Most people regard the stage diagnosis of their cancer as a key indicator of their recovery prospects. Generally, this is true. However, there are also a multitude of other factors that may influence one’s prognosis.

These factors may include one’s age, one’s overall health, and the grade of the cancer cells (i.e. an indication of how much cancer cells look like healthy cells). Also, not all patients will experience the same type of colon cancer symptoms at each stage.

To allay any fears and doubts, it is always advisable to talk to your doctor to understand the situation better. From understanding what’s going on in the patient’s body to getting a gauge of colon cancer treatment costs, your doctor should be able to communicate these important details to you.


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September 24, 2020 Blog

Nausea and vomiting are highly unpleasant experiences, but they happen to the best of us for a multitude of reasons, including food poisoning, motion sickness, gastroenteritis (stomach flu), or food allergies. Often, there’s no way to stop vomiting when the body wants to – it is one way by which our bodies eliminate toxins and contaminants. In other cases, nausea and vomiting symptoms may also be caused by anxiety and stress.

However, once the initial bout of vomiting stops, you might be looking for ways to ease nausea, prevent further rounds of vomiting, and regain your energy. For that, here are some suggestions on things you can do to find relief from nausea and vomiting.

Recommended diet

One common issue during vomiting episodes is a loss of appetite. Even if one manages to eat, the body may find it hard to keep the food down. Yet, getting adequate nutrition during this time is crucial, especially when the body is expelling food more quickly than the nutrients can be absorbed. Keeping to these foods may help you gain the nutrients you need when feeling ill:

  • Bland foods

Bland foods like plain biscuits, saltine crackers, and toast are your go-to foods when suffering from vomiting. The bland taste is less likely to put off your appetite, and tend to be more agreeable to the tummy.

  • Ice chips

Sucking on ice chips is a good way to keep your fluids intake in check without drinking too much at once. Consuming too much fluids at one go can trigger more vomiting. Keeping hydrated is crucial to prevent dehydration, especially when your body is expelling liquids during vomiting.

  • Electrolyte drinks

Sports drinks are a great solution for replenishing salts and fluids in the body when you can’t keep other foods down. Like with ice chips, make sure to consume it slowly, such as by taking a sip every few minutes.

  • Herbal tea

Some types of herbs have been found to provide relief for nausea and calm the digestive system. These include ginger, fennel, mint and clove, and you can make them from fresh herbs or using sachets. The warmth and aroma of the teas also provide a relaxing effect which eases one’s mood.

  • Avoid greasy, fried, and spicy foods

Generally, you’ll want to abstain from heavy and strong-tasting foods, as they are often laden with fats, which is difficult to digest and take a toll on your already-compromised digestive system. Spicy foods also aggravate the gastrointestinal tract, so it is a good idea to avoid it for now.

Remedies for nausea

Apart from keeping your diet in check, you can also find relief for nausea with some simple home remedies.

  • Deep breathing

Not only is deep breathing wonderful for keeping anxiety at bay, but it can also relief gastrointestinal symptoms. Taking deep, controlled breaths is especially useful for keeping motion sickness in check, as it activates the parasympathetic nervous system.

The correct way to perform deep breathing is by breathing slowly through your nose, and feeling your abdomen expand. Hold your breath for a few seconds, before exhaling slowly and relaxing your diaphragm.

  • Acupressure therapy

Popular in Chinese traditional medicine, acupressure massages are thought of as quick and easy ways to relieve common ailments. One point for relieving nausea is located on the wrist.

The point is roughly three finger-widths below the wrist. Placing your thumb at this point on your inner wrist, you should feel two tendons running along your arm. Apply firm pressure with your thumb and move it in a circular motion for 2-3 minutes, and repeat on the other hand.

  • Aromatherapy

Certain smells offer much-needed relief from nausea. Although studies disagree on the effectiveness of this, there is no harm in trying out this simple remedy – all the better if it works for you!

Some scents that have been known to ease nausea are citrus fruits, lavender, chamomile, rose, and peppermint. You can put some essential oils, fresh fruits, or dried herbs in the room to allow the scent to diffuse.

Conclusion

No one likes to prolong the experience of vomiting, so these tips are your key to getting through it as quickly and comfortably as possible. In most cases, vomiting is a minor ailment that recovers within a day. However, if you are experiencing persistent or frequent vomiting episodes, it may signal other underlying conditions. Do consult a health professional to get to the bottom of your symptoms.


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