GI CANCERS – TYPES AND SURGERIES

GI Cancers or Gastrointestinal cancers is a term used to refer to the group of cancers that affect the gastrointestinal tract of the body and other organs of the digestive system such as oesophagus, pancreas, stomach, colon, rectum, anus, liver, biliary system and the small intestine. GI cancers can affect both men and women. These cancers mostly develop within the wall of the stomach or the small intestine and grow in the empty space of gastrointestinal tract (GI); hence, they might not cause any symptoms or signs till they spread or start affecting a particular organ or reach a certain size.

Small gastrointestinal tumours might not cause any symptoms and could be diagnosed by the doctor during a test or while examining for some other issue. That said, GI cancers are widespread and are responsible for the maximum number of deaths caused by cancer, globally. Thus, it is critical to know about gastrointestinal cancer, its types, symptoms and treatment options.

Types of Gastrointestinal Cancers and Surgeries 

All types of cancers affecting the gastrointestinal tract and other digestive organs are classified as gastrointestinal cancers. The most common types of gastrointestinal cancers include:

Anal Cancer: Anal cancer is a form of gastrointestinal cancer which affects the anal canal in the body. Anal canal located at the end of the rectum is a small tube through which the body excretes stool.Anal cancers develop in the inner lining of the anal canal known as mucosa; when cancer develops from cells in the glands under the mucosa – the type of cancer is called adenocarcinomas.That said, the anus canal can also host other tumours which can be non-cancerous. Hence, a medical examination can only confirm the presence of anal cancer.

Once confirmed, the first option for treatment includes a combination of chemotherapy and radiation, when both forms of treatment do not work, the doctors will recommend surgery to remove anal cancer depending on the stage of cancer. For benign tumours, the doctors will surgically remove the tumour, as well as some healthy tissue surrounding it. For more advanced tumours, an extensive surgery called abdominoperineal resection may be performed in which the anal canal, rectum and a part of the colon are removed, and the remaining part is attached to an opening in the abdomen for excretion of waste.

Colon and Rectal Cancer (Colorectal Cancer): Colorectal cancers are initially small and non-cancerous formations of cells, called polyps that tend to develop in the inner lining of the colon or the rectum. When these polyps advance and become denser, the cells convert to cancerous leading to colorectal cancer which can either start from the colon or the rectum. It is advised to get regular medical examinations done for the colon and rectal to avoid build-up of polyps because they are the breeding grounds for colorectal cancer and usually do not produce any symptoms.

Various forms of surgery can be used to treat colorectal cancer depending on the severity of the condition. A polypectomy can be conducted by inserting a special instrument into the rectum to assess and remove polyps. In another surgery called local excision, the rectum cancer and some tissue of the rectum wall may be removed through the anus or a small incision in the rectum. The rectum is another surgical treatment that involves removing the part or the entire colon, along with cancer. In addition, laparoscopic surgery can also be used to treat colorectal cancer.

Oesophagal Cancer: A form of gastrointestinal cancer which affects the oesophagus is known as oesophagal cancer. The oesophagus is a hollow, muscular tube which connects the throat (pharynx) with the stomach. It usually is about 8 inches long and is surrounded by moist pink tissue known as mucosa. The oesophagus is located behind the trachea and the heart, in front of the spine. This tube is responsible for moving the food to the stomach for digestion. The tube has three sections – upper, middle and lower – and cancer can affect anywhere along the length of the tube.

Surgery is the main form of treatment for patients who have oesophagal cancer. The type of surgery called an esophagectomy involves removing a part of the oesophagus and connecting the remaining part of the oesophagus, which is not affected with cancer, to the stomach to support swallowing of food; this connection may be done by placing a plastic tube or using a part of the intestine. Moreover, if the oesophagus is partly blocked by cancer, a stent may be placed to keep it open.

Gallbladder and Biliary Tract Cancer: A gallbladder is a small pouch in the form of a pear, which is located right under the liver and is responsible for storing bile produced by the liver. Bile aids digestion and helps in the absorption of fat in the small intestine. In gallbladder cancer, malignant cancer cells develop in the tissues of the gallbladder; while in biliary tract cancer or cholangiocarcinoma, cancer cells affect the bile ducts – drainage tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and then from the gallbladder to the small intestines. Biliary tract cancer can develop anywhere along the bile duct length. The most common form to treat a gallbladder cancer is a cholecystectomy in which the gallbladder and surrounding lymph nodes are removed through a surgical procedure.

Liver Cancer: Cancer that starts in the cells of the liver is referred to as liver cancer. The liver is the largest organ of the human body and is located on the right side of the abdomen below the diaphragm and above the stomach.This meaty organ is responsible for detoxifying metabolites, synthesizing proteins, and producing biochemicals required for digestion of food in the body.Liver cancer is particular cancer that specifically develops in the liver cells; however, various other cancers can affect the liver but are not called liver cancers. Liver cancer can be of more than one type, the most common is hepatocellular carcinoma, which affects hepatocyte – the main liver cells.

Two types of surgical procedures are used to treat liver cancer, primarily hepatocyte. These include:

  • Hepatectomy: In this procedure, the affected part of the liver is removed and the other healthy part of the liver takes over the functioning of the whole liver and grows back to its normal size within a few weeks.
  • Liver Transplantation: When the size of the tumour is too big, and the condition of the patient has worsened, the doctors might consider liver transplantation to remove cancer from the body. The patient should, however, meet some defined criteria and there should be a healthy liver available for transplantation.

Pancreatic Cancer: A type of cancer that starts in the cells of the pancreas (exocrine and endocrine) is called Pancreatic Cancer. Pancreas are located behind the stomach and are responsible for releasing enzymes which help in digestion of food and also produce hormones that control the blood glucose level.Pancreatic cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of cancer because it is very hard to diagnose, which delays the treatment until it has reached advanced stages of cancer.

Surgery to treat pancreatic cancer is of the following types:

  • Whipple Procedure: In this, the head of the pancreas, as well as the first part of the small intestine, gallbladder and bile duct, are removed. Then the end of the bile ducts and the healthy part of the pancreas are attached to the small intestine.
  • Distal Pancreatectomy: In this surgical procedure, the tail and the body of the pancreas are removed. This might also involve removing the spleen, part of the stomach, bowel, left adrenal gland, left kidney and left diaphragm.
  • Total Pancreatectomy: In this procedure, the entire pancreas will be removed. This can have a lot of after-effects which should be carefully discussed. 

Stomach Cancer: Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer or gastric adenocarcinomas, is a formation of abnormal cells that create a mass in the stomach. Though the mass can develop in any part of the stomach, it most commonly starts in the mucus-producing cells of the inner lining of the stomach.

Surgeries to treat stomach cancer can include either a partial gastrectomy or a total gastrectomy; in the former, a part of the stomach and the surrounding lymph nodes and fatty tissues are removed to eradicate cancer. However, in the latter, the entire stomach, as well as lymph nodes and fatty tissues are removed, and a new stomach is formed by folding over a part of the intestines. 

Small Intestine Cancers: Small intestine cancers or small bowel cancers are the type of gastrointestinal cancers which affect the small intestines – organs in the GI tract that are responsible for absorption of nutrients and minerals from the food. The small intestines are located between the stomach and the large intestines and receive bile and pancreatic juice from the pancreatic duct, to help digestion of food. The small intestines are formed of a variety of cells and hence, different types of cancers can develop in them. Four of the major types of small intestinal cancers include:

  • Adenocarcinomas
  • Carcinoid Tumours
  • Lymphomas
  • Sarcomas

There are two types of surgeries which can be used to treat small intestine cancers. These are – Resection in which a part or all of the small intestine is removed along with nearby organs that are affected with cancer. In other cases, bypass surgery may be performed in which the food from the small intestine is bypassed from the tumour blocking the movement.

WHAT IS PERCUTANEOUS ENDOSCOPIC GASTROSTOMY (PEG)

Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) is an endoscopic medical procedure which a flexible feeding tube is passed into the stomach through the abdominal wall to provide nutrition, fluids or medications to a patient who has difficulty swallowing. This process allows the nutrition, fluids or medications to be directly sent to the stomach without having them flow through the mouth and esophagus. It is a safe and also a very common procedure for patients who have a functional gastrointestinal system but require long-term enteral nutrition. As of today, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is the most common endoscopic procedure performed worldwide.

What happens before the procedure?

Before the procedure, the patient will be assessed by the doctor and all medical history and current health condition will be examined. An antibiotic by vein is given to patient before beginning the procedure. Moreover, a few other steps need to be considered before the procedure:

  • The doctor must be informed of any special conditions such as a heart or a lung problem, bleeding issue or allergies, etc.
  • Patients with diabetes who use insulin might be asked to reduce the dosage per recommendation from the physician
  • In case the patient is taking any blood thinning medications, the physician must be informed.
  • The doctor might ask the patient to refrain from aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs at least one week before the procedure
  • The patient would be advised to not drink r eat anything at least 8 hours before the procedure
  • The patient would need to be accompanied by another person since the patient would not be in a condition to drive for 24 hours at least.
  • Some cases might also require the patient to stay overnight at the hospital

What happens during the procedure?

In this procedure, the doctor places an endoscope – a flexible, long, thin tube – into the mouth through the esophagus – a muscular tube connecting the mouth to the stomach – and reaches directly the stomach to help guide the right placement for the PEG tube in the stomach, also called a feeding tube. The feeding tube is placed in the stomach and once set it comes through the skin of the abdomen. The portion that is placed in the stomach is the internal bumper and the one that comes out of the abdomen is the adapter. During the procedure the patient might be under the influence of an intravenous sedative or local anaesthesia. The procedure lasts for about 30 to 45 minutes.

What happens after the procedure?

Post the procedure, the doctor will monitor the patient carefully for any complications. As sterile dressing will be placed around the incision made to place the PEG tube. The following events are normal to occur after a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy.

  • Drainage around the PEG tube in the first 48 hours
  • Minor soreness in the abdomen where the tube is inserted

Once the area has healed and the dressing is removed, the concerned are will need to be washed with water and soap on a daily basis to avoid any infections. The care required after a PEG tube placement varies from person-to-person. In some cases, the tube can last for as long as 3 years, while in other cases, it may require a replacement within some months. Moreover, a dietician will direct the patient on the use and care of the PEG tube. In case a patient experiences any problem or difficulty with the PEG tube, medical help may be required.

Who benefits from a PEG tube?

A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is beneficial for patients that have problem in swallowing or their appetite. Also, patients who are unable to take required amount of nutrition through their mouth for various reasons can benefit from the PEG tube.

How is a person fed through the tube?

A person with a PEG tube is fed specialized liquid nutrition and fluids. In case, a PEG tube is placed to solve swallowing problem, such as after a stroke, there will be restrictions on the type and quantity of oral intake. Each case is different and hence, it must be discussed with the doctor.

Are there any complications after a PEG tube placement?

Some patients might experience some complications after placement of a PEG tube, such as:

  • Pain at the site of the PEG tube
  • Drainage from the PEG tube
  • Malfunction of the PEG tube
  • Infection
  • Inhaling gastric contents into the lungs
  • Bleeding
  • Hole in wall of the bowel

How long do these tubes last? What is process for removal?

PEG tubes can last for months or years depending on case-to-case and also on the care taken. Overtime, the tubes become clogged and can break down, requiring a replacement. It is very easy to remove or replace the tubes. To remove or replace the tubes, the doctor will use firm traction; in case no tube is placed, the opening is left to close. The tube can be removed or replaced without any sedatives or anaesthesia; however, the doctor might suggest sedation or endoscopy in some cases.

Overall, a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is a safe and a very helpful procedure in patients that require adequate nutrition and supply of food but have difficulty swallowing or other issues restricting the process.

ENDOSCOPIC RETROGRADE CHOLANGIO-PANCREATOGRAPHY (ERCP)

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography or more popularly known as ERCP is a medical procedure used to diagnose and treat conditions of the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts and pancreas. This method uses a combination of endoscopy and fluoroscopy to assess the organs in detail and check for any problems. Moreover, in some cases, ERCP can also be used to treat problems of these parts of the digestive system.

In an ERCP method, an endoscope – a thin, lighted, flexible tube – is placed in the mouth and passed to the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine. In the small intestine, a small plastic tube is flowed through the endoscope into a tiny opening in the small intestine. Post this, a dye is injected and X-Rays are taken to assess existing or potential problem areas. The method can also be used to further diagnose any abnormal results received from a blood test, ultrasound or CT scan. The most common reasons, why a person is asked to undertake an ERCP examination, include symptoms such as pain in the abdomen, unexplained weight loss, jaundice, stones or abnormal mass in the concerned organs.

Moreover, an ERCP can also be used in a gallbladder surgery or to remove stones of the bile duct. Complications from a gallbladder surgery can be diagnosed and treated with ERCP in some cases. The method is also useful to diagnose any type of cancer, as well as any non-cancerous tumours. Also, for patients suffering from pancreatic disease, ERCP can be used to study the conditions, determine the need for surgery, as well as the best surgical method for treatment.

Reasons for an ERCP

A patient is advised to undertake and ERCP procedure to diagnose unexplained abdominal pain or jaundice. Moreover, it is also useful in cases of liver cancer, pancreatitis, or any other problem related to the pancreas or bile duct. Some other cases where an ERCP might be recommended include, but are not limited to:

  • Blockage in the bile ducts
  • Stones in the bile ducts
  • Blockage of the pancreatic ducts
  • Narrowing of the pancreatic ducts
  • Tumours
  • Infection of the bile ducts
  • Leakage of fluid from the bile or pancreatic duct

Procedure of an ERCP

Before the procedure, the patient would be required to be empty stomach and not drink or eat anything at least for 8 hours prior to the procedure. Also, current medications will be adjusted and eliminated depending on case-to-case. Moreover, any chronic health problems must be in the knowledge of the doctor. Once cleared, the patient will be sedated to begin the procedure.

During the procedure, the gastroenterologist (a doctor who specializes in gastrointestinal problems) uses an endoscope – a thin, light, flexible tube mounted with a camera and light – to study the inside of the patient’s digestive system. Once placed, the doctor then spots the point where the bile duct enters the intestine and then places a tiny tube (catheter) into the targeted duct and injects contrasting material to take images of the internal functioning and condition of the organs. The contrasting agent – mostly a dye – enables the doctor to examine the bile ducts, gallbladder and the pancreatic ducts through X-Rays. This helps in identifying the source of an existing problem or risks of a potential problem, which then can be treated using the following medical procedures:

Sphincterotomy: This method involves making a microscopic incision in the pancreatic duct or the bile duct, enabling the pancreatic juice, bile and small gallstones to drain completely.

Stent Placement: An ERCP can also help in drainage by placing a stent – a drainage tube – in the bile duct or the pancreatic duct, to keep it open.

Gallstone Removal: With the help of ERCP it is possible to remove gallstones from the bile duct.

Post the procedure, the patient is taken to the recovery room and observed till the blood pressure, pulse and breathing stabilises. The patient is discharged as soon as these parameters stabilise and there is no risk of potential complications. However, the patient does not have to drink or eat anything till the time the gag reflex has returned. After the procedure, the patient might experience, sore throat and pain in swallowing for some days.

That said, the patient can return to normal activities the next day of the procedure. In case, the patient experiences fever redness, swelling, abdominal pain, blood stool, throat or chest pain, or any other serious after-effects – medical attention must be sought immediately.

Risks in an ERCP

An ERCP is considered a relatively safe and low-risk procedure. However, there may be a chance of some complications to arise, such as:

  • Infection
  • Bowel Rupture
  • Bleeding
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Harmful impact radiation, especially in pregnant women
  • Allergies to contrast material
  • Inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis)
  • Tear in the lining of the top section in the small intestine, esophagus or stomach
  • Build up of bile outside the biliary system

In all, an ERCP is a safe and very useful procedure that provides effective results in no time and has a shorter hospital stay, as well as a faster recovery period.

FATTY LIVER: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS

Fatty liver or medically referred to as hepatic steatosis is a condition where excessive fat builds up in the liver, causing severe health issues. Normal fat in the liver is normal, but when there is excessive accumulation of fat in the liver it leads to a fatty liver. The liver is the second largest organ of the human body, which is responsible for extracting nutrients from food, as well as filtering toxic substances from the blood. When there is an excessive build-up of fat in the liver, it causes the liver to become inflamed which ultimately damages the liver and causes scarring. Overtime scarring of the liver leads to liver failure.

A fatty liver caused due to excessive alcohol is referred to as alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD). In other cases, where the condition is caused due to other reasons, it is called non-alcoholic fatty liver.

Causes of Fatty Liver

Fatty liver is a condition which occurs when the body produces excessive fat or does not process fat as effectively as it should. This excessive fat is stored in the cells of the liver, which ultimately causes health problems. This accumulation of fat can be because of several reasons such as:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin resistance
  • High fat in the body

Some other uncommon causes of fatty liver include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Sudden and rapid weight loss
  • Infections such as Hep C
  • Medications
  • Exposure to certain toxins
  • Genes

Symptoms of Fatty Liver

In most cases, the fatty liver does not cause any significant symptoms until it reaches a complex stage. However, in the initial stages of fatty liver, a person might experience weakness, tiredness, discomfort or pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen. Over time, fatty liver can cause severe health problems such as scarring of the liver, which is known as liver fibrosis. When liver fibrosis intensifies to a complex stage it is called cirrhosis.

Some symptoms of cirrhosis include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Nausea and fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Bleeding of nose
  • Itchy and scaly skin
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Enlargement of breasts in men
  • Confusion
  • Pale eyes and skin
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Swollen legs
  • Web-clusters of blood vessels

Cirrhosis is a life-threatening health problem and must be given immediate medicate care.

Diagnosis of Fatty Liver

Since fatty liver does not produce any significant symptoms in the initial stages, it is important to get it medically diagnosed. The doctor will study medical history and then conduct a physical examination and other tests to diagnose the condition.

Medical History: The doctor will analyse the family medical history,lifestyle habits, current medical health, on-going medications and recent health changes. Moreover, the doctor will also check for any symptoms – such as appetite loss, fatigues, etc. – that could indicate a fatty liver.

Physical Examination: The doctor will conduct a physical exam by pressing or palpating the abdomen to check if there is any swelling or enlargement of the liver. In many cases, the liver may be inflamed but not enlarged.

Tests: To confirm the analysis, the doctor will recommend a blood test to detect the liver enzymes.In case, the liver enzymes are elevated, it is a clear sign of live inflammation – which is caused because of fatty liver. For a patient who has elevated liver enzymes, the doctor will suggest additional tests.

Imaging Exams: To know the condition of the liver, the doctor will suggest one or more of the imaging exams including ultrasound, CT or MRI. These testswill check for excessive fat or any other problems of the liver. In severe cases, the doctor can also suggest vibration-controlled transient elastography (VCTE, FibroScan) which uses low-frequency sound waves to assess the stiffness of the liver; this is an indicator for liver scarring.

Liver Biopsy: In a liver biopsy, the doctor will use a needle to remove a small piece of the liver tissue for examination. This will help to detect fatty liver disease and liver scarring.

Treatment of Fatty Liver

Currently, there are no medications to cure the fatty liver problem; however, the symptoms can be treated individually and overall health can be controlled through some lifestyle changes such as below:

  • Avoid or limit alcohol intake
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Adopting a healthy diet

For patients, who develop a severe form of liver disease – cirrhosis, the doctor will suggest additional treatment options along with lifestyle modifications. These include medications and surgery. In case of worsening conditions, the patient might need a liver transplant.

That said, fatty liver can be easily avoided provided a person takes proper diet, maintains a healthy weight, undertakes adequate physical activity and limits alcohol consumption. Continuous monitoring and regular health check-ups can effectively work to avoid the problem on the whole by providing early warning signs.

GASTROLOGIST OR GASTROENTEROLOGIST? KNOW THE DIFFERENCE?

Due to complicating medical terminologies, people often spring up alternative names of the complicated one. Such is the case of gastrologist and gastroenterologist. Gastroenterologists are specialists that treat diseases and problems related to the gastrointestinal tract (GI). These specialists can treat everything from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to Hepatitis C. On the other hand, gastrology is an adopted word for gastroenterologist due to the latter being complicated to pronounce. However, as per definition gastrology is the study of stomach and stomach-related problems but it is essentially not a recognized medical speciality. Hence, for patients who experience problems with the stomach or any part of the gastrointestinal tract are required to visit a Gastroenterologist.

Gastrointestinal tract (GI), also commonly known as the digestive tract, alimentary canal, etc. is a combination of organs with the human body that consumes food, processes/digests it to extract and absorb the energy and nutrients from food. This system also is responsible for expelling the waste in the form of faeces from the body. The system comprises of a hollow muscular tube that starts from the oral cavity (where the food enters the mouth) and continues to include the pharynx, esophagus, stomach, intestines, and further till rectum and anus (from where the food is expelled from the body). The GI tract is supported by various organs such as the salivary glands, liver, pancreas and gallbladder, which secrete enzymes that help in breaking and digestion of food.

The GI tract is one of the most important human body organs. It is important because it creates energy for the body from food, removes toxins and waste from the body in the form of faeces. Any gastrointestinal disorder or disease restricts the ideal functioning of the GI tract which causes a lot of health problems. Hence, it is important to know who to visit in case of GI tract issues.

Who is a Gastroenterologist?

Gastroenterologists are specialists that treat digestive, gastrointestinal, as well as liver disorders and diseases in both men and women. These specialists have been specifically trained to diagnose and treat all concerns related to the following organs of the body:

  • Esophagus – the tube connecting the mouth and stomach
  • Stomach
  • Small intestine
  • Colon
  • Rectum
  • Pancreas
  • Gallbladder
  • Bile ducts
  • Liver
  • Pharynx
  • Large Intestine
  • Salivary Glands
  • Tongue
  • Epiglottis
  • Anus

Gastroenterologists also perform endoscopic procedures using specialised instruments to assess the GI tract and diagnose for any problems.

Focus areas for Gastroenterologists include:

  • Hepatology – diagnosing and treating conditions of the liver, gallbladder, biliary tree and pancreas
  • Pancreatic issues and diseases
  • Transplantation of GI organs
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Inflammation of the organs of the digestive tract
  • Gastrointestinal cancer
  • Endoscopic surveillance
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

What conditions are treated by Gastroenterologists?

Gastroenterologists are trained with special education to treat all conditions affecting the GI system. Some of the common conditions treated by gastroenterologists include:

  • Acid reflux
  • Stomach and other ulcers
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Hepatitis C
  • Polyps in the large intestine
  • Abnormal growth in the large intestine
  • Jaundice
  • Bloody stool
  • Haemorrhoids or commonly known as piles
  • Colon cancer
  • Esophagus cancer
  • Colon polyps
  • Pancreatitis or any other condition causing inflammation in the pancreas

What procedures are performed by Gastroenterologists?

Gastroenterologists perform a variety of non-surgical procedures such as:

  • Endoscopy of the upper and lower GI tract and other internal organs
  • Colonoscopy to diagnose colon cancer and polyps
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography to detect gallstones tumours or scar tissue
  • Sigmoidoscopies to assess the blood loss or pain in bowel movement
  • Biopsy of the liver to detect inflammation and fibrosis
  • Capsule endoscopies to analyse the small intestine
  • Double balloon enteroscopy to study the small intestine

When should you visit a Gastroenterologist?

You would need to visit a Gastroenterologist if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Unexplained blood in the stool
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Excessive and unexplained abdominal pain
  • Heartburn
  • Reflux of food after swallowing
  • Extreme diarrhoea

Moreover, people over the age of 50 irrespective of gender should visit a Gastroenterologist for regular monitoring and preventive care since they are at higher risk of colon cancer.

Who is a Gastrologist?

As per definition, a gastrologist is a person who specialises in gastrology. Gastrology involves stomach and stomach related issues. However, gastrology is not a recognized branch of study and hence, gastrologist is just another term used for gastroenterologist, since the latter is difficult to pronounce.Gastrology could be a term used in the early 1900s but has been replaced bygastroenterologist today and is not treated separately.

What is the difference between gastrologist and gastroenterologist?

Practically, there is no difference between the two specialists since one (gastrologist) is only a commonly adapted word of a gastroenterologist. Contrary to the definition of gastrology, all stomach ailments are also covered in gastroenterology; hence, patients with any kind of issues related to the GI tract including the stomach need to visit a gastroenterologist.

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