Unite in the Fight Against Cancer series: Gastrointestinal cancer

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Augusta, GA (WJBF)- In today’s edition of our Georgia Cancer Center Unite in the Fight Against Cancer series, we are looking at gastrointestinal cancers.

This type of cancer encompasses cancers such as stomach, pancreatic, liver and colon cancers, all of which can be very dangerous.

A local expert says part of what makes these cancers so dangerous is the lack of early symptoms.

Symptoms of stomach cancer aren’t as obvious as most cancers and include weight loss, loss of appetite or feeling full earlier than usual during meals.

“So stomach cancer is a fairly aggressive cancer. It really is the number two killer cancer that we think of. And it’s fairly aggressive, but in spite of that, it shows symptoms sometimes only upon later advanced presentation,” explained Dr. Tania Arora a Surgical Oncologist at the Georgia Cancer Center.

All the doctors NewsChannel 6 spoke to for this series say that smoking and obesity are the two highest risk factors for all types of cancer in adults. We wondered why.

“Smoking, in and of itself has been found to have so many carcinogens that it relates to all cancers that we know of,” said Dr. Arora. “We know that obesity changes our hormonal makeup. It changes our immune system as well. And so, our ability to fight off diseases, infections, but also the cellular changes that cause cancer are more pronounced in obese patients.”

John Owen fought and conquered rectal and bladder cancer. He says he considered going to other more well known cancer centers, but his daughter who is a doctor, told him to stay in Augusta.

“She said, Dad, you’re in the exact right place to be treated for what you have. She said they’re as good as anyone in the country,” said Owen.

He had high praise for the health care providers he has worked with.

“Everyone here has wings on their backs. They’re all like angels. They’re so caring and so concerned that you are in a good place.”

Owen said he is now cancer free and that his doctors at the Georgia Cancer Center saved his life.

He also said fundraisers like Unite in the Fight aimed at helping cancer patients, allow donors to feel as if they are doing something to help.

There are three days left in the Unite in the Fight Against Cancer fundraiser.

To donate click HERE.

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