English | Dzongkha Monday, September 28, 2020

A pilot project on eradication of Gastric Cancer

Pema Seldon Tshering, Thimphu
Aug 15, 2019

Gastric or Stomach Cancer is one of the leading cancers in Bhutan. And with most cases detected late, it increases the risk of cancer deaths. So, to reduce the incidence and mortality of gastric cancer in the country, a pilot project on Eradication of Gastric Cancer will be implemented from October this year to September 2022. 

The pilot project will be implemented at Dawakha BHU catchment areas in Haa as it has reported high stomach cancer rate in Bhutan. The findings from this project will be used to guide and support the development of national gastric cancer control program and roll-out nationwide program to reduce incidence and mortality of gastric cancer.

As per the record maintained with the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in Thimphu, annually, 24 per hundred thousand new gastric cases are detected in the country. It causes the highest mortality amongst all cancers with 12 deaths per hundred thousand.

“We are going to change that situation by early detection and early screening. So by early screening and treatment of H. Pylori bacteria, which is known to be the major cause of stomach cancer, we prevent cancer. Secondly, by screening H. Pylori during endoscopy, we detect gastric cancer earlier and if it is detected earlier, we can cure most of the stomach cancers, ” Dr Sithar Dorjee, the Director of KGUMSB, said.

Helicobacter Pylori or H. Pylori is commonly transmitted person-to-person by saliva. The bacteria can also be spread by faecal contamination or food or water.

“Outside this infection, we see there will be certain cancer caused by other reason like alcohol, smoking or exposure to chemicals but the major proportion of cancer is caused by H. Pylori,” Dr Sithar Dorji said.

As part of the project, eight medical doctors are being trained to conduct advance endoscopy to detect early gastric cancer. The project is also exploring fund to procure latest and high-end endoscopy machine that can improve the detection rate of early gastric cancer.

The Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB) along with the health ministry, the national referral hospital and Zero Helicobacter IGAN Network of Japan initiated the project.

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