Gastroenterology is a branch of internal medicine which specializes in the disorders of the stomach and bowels, the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.
We have experience with the diagnostics and therapy of one of today’s most prevalent diseases, GERD, and also of inflammatory bowel disorders.
Every year, almost 5500 patients die of cancer of the large intestine and the rectum (the medical term is colorectal carcinoma). As with every tumorous disease, the best chance of the patient’s survival lies with the earliest possible detection of the tumor.
95% of colon cancers develop from benign tumors called intestinal polyps. 3 to 5 years are necessary for the small intestinal polyp to develop into cancer. These two findings theoretically make it possible to prevent a large portion of colon cancers or to catch already developed cancerous lesions at an early stage with regular screening tests.
The three most important methods to prevent colorectal cancer are an annual rectal digital examination during the medical visit, the laboratory detection of occult bleeding in the stool, and colonoscopy.
- detailed individual and family medical history,
- physical examination,
- comprehensive laboratory and instrumental examinations,
- abdominal ultrasound and further imaging tests as needed,
- immunchromatographic assay for stool blood to detect occult bleeding (screening for colorectal cancer)
Screening for stool blood is recommended annually, even with the knowledge that the test is not always positive for patients with confirmed colon cancer. If the test is positive, inspection of the anal region and a rectal digital examination is compulsory. If the patient does not have symptoms indicating esophageal or gastric disease, colonoscopy is recommended. Patients are not comfortable with this examination, partly because of a misinterpreted sense of shame, partly because of pain during the examination.
Colonoscopy is performed with bearable pain in the hands of skilled physicians and assistants, and colon and rectal cancers, along with pre-malignant polyps can be safely detected with the method, the polyps can also be removed during the examination.
In this manner, colonoscopy is so effective in the prevention and early detection of colon and rectal cancer that professional guidelines recommend the procedure every 5-10 years over age 50, even if the stool blood test is negative.
The specialist physician evaluates the results in detail and establishes the diagnosis. Following discussion with the patient, the physician recommends adequate therapy with follow-up examination as necessary.