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Việt Nam has made great progress in endoscopic surgery for esophageal cancer patients

Update: January, 09/2022 - 16:35


Surgeons demonstrate endoscopic techniques to cut esophageal tumours with robotic surgery technology at the Vinmec Times City International Hospital. — Photo couresty of the organiser

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam has made many advances in endoscopic surgery for patients with esophageal cancer. Up to 90 per cent of esophageal cancer patients can live at least five years if the disease is detected and treated early.

Participants heard the information at a scientific conference on the application of medical advances in endoscopic surgery of esophageal cancer in Hà Nội on Saturday.

The 2-day event, entitled “Advances in endoscopic surgery in treatment of esophageal cancer in Việt Nam”, was organised by the Vinmec Times City International Hospital on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Vinmec Health System.

At the event, Associate Professor Phạm Đức Huấn, director of the Centre for Gastroenterology-Hepatology, Vinmec Times City International Hospital, said that esophageal cancer is the fifth most common cancer among digestive cancers, after stomach, colon and rectal and liver cancers. Việt Nam currently has tens of thousands of people with esophageal cancer, mainly in smokers and drinkers.

“In the past, people with esophageal cancer often had a poor prognosis with the 5-year survival rate was only about 30 per cent. With current advances in science and technology, 90 per cent of patients who are diagnosed and treated at an early stage, can live at least five years, some of my patients live over 20 years,” said Huấn.

Experts said that previously, esophageal cancer surgery was open surgery and was one of the most difficult digestive surgeries with a long operating time and many serious complications. Endoscopic surgery is considered a revolution and is gradually replacing open surgery in the treatment of esophageal cancer.

This is a minimally invasive technique, with only small incisions of 5-10mm, but has outstanding advantages for patients such as less pain, fast recovery, aesthetics and fewer complications. However, endoscopic surgery requires highly qualified doctors, skilled laparoscopic surgery techniques and modern equipment to ensure accuracy, radicality and the highest efficiency in treatment.

According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, head of Gastroenterology Department of the National Military Hospital 108, esophageal cancer arises from the esophagus - the digestive tube between the throat and stomach. Patients often present with symptoms of dysphagia and weight loss. The disease is also quite common in Việt Nam and is common in the elderly. Patients often come to doctors when they are at a late stage when the tumour is large, causing esophageal lumen obstruction or has distant metastases. Patients only go to doctors when there are signs such as choking or pain that means esophageal cancer is at a late stage.

“Esophageal cancer is very difficult to treat and required a multimodal combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, in which surgery is the most important treatment,” said Doctor Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, head of Gastroenterology Department of Military Hospital 108.

In order to detect esophageal cancer at an earlier stage, Tuấn recommends that people pay attention to changes in the body, especially when feeling tired, losing weight and not eating well, and then coming to the hospital for examination and treatment.

The conference is a professional forum for health experts and surgeons in the field of esophageal cancer treatment across the country to exchange knowledge and experience in many very comprehensive research works in the fields of adjunctive techniques for endoscopic surgery, preoperative chemo-radiotherapy and issues relating to recovery of postoperative patients. Scientific reports at the conference show that with the application of the latest advances in the world, cancer treatment in Việt Nam is now closer to that of developed countries.

During the event, participants also witnessed leading experts demonstrate endoscopic techniques to cut esophageal tumours with robotic surgery technology, the most modern and advanced technology available today. — VNS

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