Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — A 54-year-old man from the central province of Phú Yên had been losing weight, and had felt chest pains and problems in swallowing.
A local hospital diagnosed the man with stage 3A oesophageal cancer, meaning the cancer had yet to invade the lymph nodes.
The patient later decided to visit FV Hospital in HCM City for further treatment.
Dr Đỗ Minh Hùng, head of the hospital’s general surgery department, said the case was a serious one in which all the nodes had to be removed in a location with many large blood vessels and nerves, near the heart.
Despite risks, Hùng and other doctors in the surgical team decided to perform an eight-hour laparoscopic surgery to remove all the nodes.
They made an oesophageal resection, and then reconnected the remaining part of the esophagus to the stomach.
The laparoscopic surgery helped reduce the risk of infection, Hùng said.
The patient can now eat and drink, and can speak clearly.
According to the US National Cancer Institute, the most common types of oesophageal cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, which begins in flat cells lining the oesophagus, and adenocarcinoma, which begins in cells that release mucus and other fluids.
Smoking and heavy alcohol use increase the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Gastroesophageal reflux disease may increase the risk of oesophageal adenocarcinoma.
Health experts said that patients with oesophageal cancer often have no early symptoms, leading to diagnosis at an advanced stage.
Oesophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer in the world, according to the World Health Organisation’s Global Cancer Report 2012.
Nearly 456,000 new incidences of oesophageal cancer were recorded globally in 2012. Around 400,000 people died from the disease. The ratio of males and females with the cancer was 2.4 to one.
According to Bạch Mai Hospital, the prevalence of oesophageal cancer in Việt Nam is 1.4 per 100,000 people, lower than China and Russia, with a prevalence of about 100 per 100,000 people.
Doctors at the Huế Oncology Centre said that in Việt Nam oesophageal cancer is rare. In men, the rate of incidences is 3.7 per 100,000. In females, it is 0.6 per 100,000.
People over aged 50 are at a higher risk of oesophageal cancer, they added.
Like other cancers, oesophagectomy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are the main types of treatment.
Doctors at Huế Oncology Centre said that laparoscopic surgery had improved treatment effectiveness and that post-operative chemo-radiation therapy could reduce recurrences.
The survival rate of patients receiving combination therapy could be improved compared to using either surgery or radiotherapy alone. —VNS