A guide to prevent gastric cancer

Health professionals of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) designed a method to help Colombian gastroenterologists define strategies to fight malignant digestive system tumors.

This was performed as members of the Cochrane Group, a not-for-profit organization devoted to systematically assess health procedures and which only office in Colombia is located at UNal.

Furthermore they worked in alliance with the Colombian Gastroenterology Society and the UNal Faculty of Medicine’ Clinical Research Institute to develop ten Clinical Practice Guides based on medical evidence and with the purpose of helping diagnose gastric cancer and other stomach diseases, which if not addressed properly could cause health complications or even death.

UNal physicians William Otero, Luis Pineda and Rodrigo Pardo, as Director of Cochrane participated in the making of these manuals. Afterwards former president of the Colombian Gastroenterology Society Luis Carlos Sabbagh joined the team with coordination of the Editorial Manager of Cochrane, Marcela Torres.

Although with a good gastric cancer diagnosis this disease may be cured in up to 90% of the cases, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection says it is the first cause of death in men and third among women in Colombia.

This type of cancer is a silent disease which in 80% of the events is diagnosed when it is well advanced. Therefore the need to establish diagnostic strategies before it fully develops.

One of the reasons these guides make sense is that they discovered that diagnosis methods differ from hospital/clinic/healthcare service to hospital/clinic/healthcare service. Many of these reviews are carried out by spoken tradition because someone in the past determined it so, but this never was a standardized procedure with scientific support.

“We discovered variability in the clinical procedures and with these guides we hope to establish general guidelines and more controlled procedures,” said Carlos Grillo, UNal Gynecologist and member of the editorial committee of Cochrane Group.

UNal Professor and editor of the Cochrane Group, Hernando Gaitán says they carried a thorough research of the greatest amount of possible source materials, many of them from gastroenterologists, internal medicine specialists, oncologists, radiologists, inclusively undergraduate and graduate students.

Diagnostic strategies

Among the suggestions included in the guide, they mentioned the usefulness of endoscopic procedures. Another of the protocols defined was to try to eradicate Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria which produces ulcers and some types of gastritis. Furthermore to avoid gastric tumors, they suggested extracting portions of stomach mucus (mucosectomy) for analyses.

Furthermore they propose making a test which combines traditional endoscopy with an ultrasonography (Echoendoscopy), which may be performed to distinguish advanced from early cancer. In Colombia, the Health Providing Entities (EPS, for its Spanish acronym) approve this test when a physician suggests it as a diagnostic strategy.

Research in Colombia, which has been intense, has other research projects to show and tap into. Professor Grillo claims, with the leadership of UNal physicians, that the Publishing House has just gathered scientific evidence and data on medical procedures to complete other 36 guides which will also help in prevention of other common diseases. Particularly they are directed at the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and will assist in diagnoses at the UNal University hospital.

Agencia de Noticias UNAL |

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