The esophagus is the hollow, muscular tube that moves food and liquid from the throat to the stomach. The wall of the esophagus is made up of several layers of tissue, including mucous membrane, muscle, and connective tissue. Esophageal cancer starts on the inside lining of the esophagus and spreads outward through the other layers as it grows.
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. Risk factors include the following:
Peptic ulcers are sores that develop in the lining of the stomach, lower esophagus, or small intestine. They’re usually formed as a result of inflammation caused by the bacteria H. pylori, as well as from erosion from stomach acids. Peptic ulcers are a fairly common health problem.
There are three types of peptic ulcers:
Different factors can cause the lining of the stomach, the esophagus, and the small intestine to break down. These include:
The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is burning abdominal pain that extends from the navel to the chest, which can range from mild to severe. In some cases, the pain may wake you up at night. Small peptic ulcers may not produce any symptoms in the early phases.
Other common signs of a peptic ulcer include:
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your ulcer. If tests show that you have an H. pylori infection, your doctor will prescribe a combination of medication. You’ll have to take the medications for up to two weeks. The medications include antibiotics to help kill infections and proton pump inhibitors(PPIs) to help reduce stomach acid.
You may experience minor side effects like diarrhea or an upset stomach from antibiotic regimens. If these side effects cause significant discomfort or don’t get better over time, talk to your doctor.
If your doctor determines that you don’t have an H. pylori infection, they may recommend a prescription or over-the-counter PPI (such as Prilosec or Prevacid) for up to eight weeks to reduce stomach acid and help your ulcer heal.
Acid blockers like ranitidine (Zantac) or famotidine (Pepcid) can also reduce stomach acid and ulcer pain. These medications are available as a prescription and also over the counter in lower doses.
Your doctor may also prescribe sucralfate (Carafate) which will coat your stomach and reduce symptoms of peptic ulcers.
There are several different operations for pancreatic cancer. They involve removing all or part of the pancreas, and sometimes other areas around it.
Your surgeon will discuss with you the best type of surgery for you. This will depend on where the cancer is in the pancreas.
The Whipple’s operation is one of the most common types of surgery for pancreatic cancer. It’s usually used for tumours in the head of the pancreas that haven’t spread beyond the pancreas.
The surgeon will remove the head of the pancreas. They also remove:
They then attach the remaining part of the stomach and bile duct to the small intestines. The pancreas is attached to the small intestines or to the stomach.
This diagram shows the parts of the body to be removed by a Whipple’s operation
This diagram shows the pancreas and surrounding organs after a Whipple’s operation
As part of your pancreas is removed during a Whipple’s operation, your digestion will be affected, and you will probably need to take pancreatic enzyme supplements. There is also a risk of getting diabetes.