Radiation Therapy for

Gastrointestinal Cancers

Delivering my very best expertise with compassion and dignity.

doctor-img

What are Abdominal Cancers?

The abdomen, commonly called the belly, is the part of the body that is between the chest and the pelvis. It contains most of the organs of the digestive tract. Common cancers in the abdomen that can occur are: colon cancer, gastric cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer and pancreatic cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms

  • Colon Cancer:

    Change in bowel habits (e.g diarrhoea, constipation or stool consistency), Rectal bleeding, Persistent discomfort in the abdomen (e.g: cramps, pain or bloatedness)

  • Liver Cancer:

    Upper abdominal pain, General weakness and fatigue, Yellow discolouration of skin and white of eyes, Nausea and vomiting

  • Pancreatic Cancer:

    Loss of appetite, Yellow discolouration of skin and white of eyes, Change in bowel habits (pale stools), Nausea and vomiting

  • Gastric Cancer:

    Poor appetite, Weight loss, Abdominal pain, Nausea and vomiting

  • Kidney Cancer:

    Blood in urine, Lump in the abdomen, Extreme tiredness, Pain in the back of the side

How are Abdominal cancers diagnosed?

This depends on the type of cancer that you have been diagnosed with, but typically the following tests or procedures will be involved:

  • Blood tests
  • Faecal Occult Blood Test (for Colon cancer)
  • Imaging tests (e.g: CT scan, MRI, PET scan, Ultrasound)
  • Biopsy
  • Laparascopy (for Liver and Gastric cancer)
  • Colonoscopy (for Colon cancer)

What are the different types of treatment?

Treatment depends on the stage of cancer, as well as the general medical condition of the patient

Colon Cancer

Surgery is the main treatment for early stages. Chemotherapy is required for more advanced stages.

Gastric Cancer

Surgery is the main treatment for early stages. In more advaced stages, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be required. Radiation therapy can also be given to palliative localised symptoms such as pain, bleeding and obstruction.

Kidney Cancer

Surgery is the main treatment for localised cancer. Chemotherapy is used in patients with advanced cancer. Radiation therapy can be given to palliate symptoms such as pain and bleeding.

Liver Cancer

Surgery is the main treatment for early stages. Chemotherapy is required for advanced stages. Radiation therapy techniques such as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) or intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) can be used in selected patients to treat lesions that are not suitable for chemotherapy or surgery.

Pancreatic Cancer

Surgery is the main treatment for localised cancer. Chemotherapy is used in patients who are not suitable for surgery. Radiation therapy is given together with chemotherapy for patients who have unresectable disease and for selected cases after surgery. It can also be given to palliate symptoms such as pain and bleeding.

What is Radiation Therapy?

Radiation therapy treats cancer by using high-energy x-rays generated from a radiation therapy machine to destroy the cancer cells. It inhibits cancer cells from multiplying by delivering ionizing radiation to destroy cancer cells whilst minimizing radiation to normal tissues. When these cancer cells die, the body naturally eliminates them. Healthy tissue is then able to repair itself in a way cancer cells cannot, and this leads to a much higher proportion of tumour cell death compared to normal cells.

How is Radiation Therapy done?

Consultation

The Radiation Oncologist determines the most appropriate method and discusses with you the treatment intent, schedule, risks and side-effects.

Mark-Up and Simulation

A CT scan of the treatment area will be obtained, while three small full-stop size marks are made to ensure accurate positioning during your daily treatment.

Treatment Planning

A multidisciplinary team produces a customised treatment plan for you.

Treatment

Radiation therapy for abdominal cancers is delivered daily (Mondays to Fridays) for two to seven weeks. Each treatment session lasts 10 to 15 minutes.

Follow-Up

Your first follow-up appointment varies depending on how you do during treatment, and is usually about four to six weeks after you have completed the course of radiation therapy.

What are the types of Radiation Therapy available for Abdominal Cancers?

3-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3DCRT)

3DCRT delivers very precise doses of radiation to the affected area and spares surrounding normal tissue through a machine called a linear accelerator

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

IMRT involves varying (or modulating) the intensity of the radiation being delivered during treatment. Compared to 3DCRT, this technique can deliver more tightly focused radiation beams to cancerous tumours while reducing the amount of radiation to surrounding healthy tissues.

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

SBRT makes use of precise positioning, immobilisation devices and multiple treatment beams delivered in different planes to achieve highly focused radiation therapy targeting suitable tumours. This allows larger radiation doses to be delivered during each treatment, thereby shortening the treatment duration without compromising safety.

"I guarantee my very best expertise delivered with compassion and dignity as we journey TOGETHER to BEAT this dreaded illness."

- Dr Johann Tang

Make An Enquiry

Got Queries? Book an appointment with Dr Johann Tang by filling up this form. We'll get on a call with you as soon as possible.

Prefer to talk? Call us directly at +65 6690 6811
or email us at [email protected]

What are the potential side effects?

This may depend on the specific area of treatment and can include :

  • Fatigue
  • Change in texture of skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal colic

Many of these side effects can be controlled with medication. Please inform your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing any discomfort so that they can help you feel better. Late side effects, such as chronic diarrhoea can occur months to years after treatment in some patients. There are other rare side effects, such as bleeding and obstruction of the intertine, damage to the liver and kidneys which may affect less than five percent of our patients.

Caring for yourself during and after Radiation therapy

  • Stop smoking

    Immediate benefits of less airway irritation with less cough and shortness of breath.

  • Stay active

    Even gently short bouts of activity helps! Improves mood, reduces fatigue, and helps with appetite.

  • Check your medications

    Inform your doctor if you are taking medications, to make sure that they are safe to use during radiation therapy.

  • Be careful caring for the affected area

    Avoid hot or cold packs and only use lotions and ointments after checking with your doctor or nurse. Clean the affected area with lukewarm water and mild soap

  • Enlist support

    Mental and emotional health is as important as physical health. It might be helpful to talk to counsellors or join a cancer support group.

  • Have a caregiver who can manage your care

    It is good to have someone who can help to keep track of hospital appointments and medications prescribed.

  • Rest well

    Get plenty of rest during treatment.

  • Eat well

    Makes you feel better, have fewer side effects, and allows you to fight infections better.

doc_img

About Dr Johann Tang

Senior Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Medical Director, MBBS (Aust), FRANZCR (Radiation Oncology)

Dr Tang obtained his medical degree from the University of Newcastle, Australia in 1998 and completed his house officer training at the Hunter Area Health Service, Australia before returning to Singapore to start his specialty training in Radiation Oncology at the National University Hospital (NUH). After obtaining his fellowship from the Royal Australian College of Radiologist (FRANZCR) in 2006, Dr Tang underwent fellowships in breast brachytherapy at University of Wisconsin and Arizona Breast Cancer Specialist Centre as well as prostate brachytherapy, skin and paediatric fellowships at Peter Maccallum Cancer Institute, Australia.

Why Choose Dr Johann Tang

Dr. Johann Tang is an experienced radiation oncologist who aims to deliver the highest level of care to his patients. e is dedicated to understanding each patient’s condition and provides holistic customized care that is both effective and compassionate. With ethics and empathy held at the core of our practice, we strive to understand your individual needs and provide care that is compassionate and responsive.

Experienced Radiation Oncologist

Dr. Johann Tang is a highly experienced radiation oncologist with several accolades to his name. Prior to entering private practice where he is currently a Senior Consultant and Medical Director. Dr Tang was at NUH for 18 years from 2001 to 2019. Dr Tang spearheaded and built up the breast brachytherapy (Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation APBI), outpatient interstitial image- guided cervical brachytherapy and paediatric radiotherapy services at NUH, to provide an array of the latest and best treatment options for patients. Dr. Tang is also passionately involved in research having authored numerous peer reviewed publications, and has won several research prizes.

Evidence-based Treatments

Dr. Johann Tang and his team utilizes technology that has proven to be effective in cancer treatment. Having decades of experience in treating and researching the disease has enabled Dr Tang to remain current and on top of best practice and novel techniques, providing his patients with full assurance that they are receiving the most effective treatment available.

Patient-centered Care

Dr Johann Tang’s patients are his top priority. He journeys with them from diagnosis till the completion of treatment. With Dr Tang, all patients can be fully assured that their clinical needs and well being are attended to.

"I guarantee my very best expertise delivered with compassion and dignity as we journey TOGETHER to BEAT this dreaded illness."

- Dr Johann Tang

Make An Enquiry

Got Queries? Book an appointment with Dr Johann Tang by filling up this form. We'll get on a call with you as soon as possible.

Prefer to talk? Call us directly at +65 6690 6811
or email us at [email protected]

Related Articles

Contact Dr Johann Tang

ME Novena Specialist Group Pte Ltd
Mt. Elizabeth Novena Hospital
Address: 38 Irrawaddy Road
#08-36/7/8/9
Singapore 329563
Telephone: +65 6690 6811
Fax: +65 6690 6828
Whatsapp: +65 9641 4747
Clinic Hours:

Mon – Fri: 8:30am – 5:30pm
Sat: 8:30am – 1:00pm
Sun & Public Holidays: Closed

Farrer Park Hospital
Address: 1 Farrer Park Station Road #07-14
Singapore 217562
Telephone: +65 6690 6811
Fax: +65 6690 6828
Whatsapp: +65 9641 4747
Clinic Hours:

Mon – Fri: 8:30am – 5:30pm
Sat: 8:30am – 1:00pm
Sun & Public Holidays: Closed