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Can Endoscopy Remove Cancer?

What is endoscopy?

Endoscopy is the process of inserting a long, thin tube into the body to examine an internal organ or tissue closely. It can also help in other procedures, including imaging and simple surgery. During the endoscopic procedure, an endoscope helps to see inside an organ or other hollow body cavity. An endoscope is a device the doctor inserts into the patient’s body during an endoscopy. It is equipped with tiny cameras and strong lights at the end of narrow tubes. The length and flexibility of the endoscope vary depending on the area of the body the doctor needs to view. Unlike many other medical imaging procedures, endoscopes are introduced directly into the organ. 

It helps in cancer diagnosis in the biopsies when there are symptoms that indicate cancer. And can help to check for various symptoms such as bleeding, inflammation, vomiting and so on.  It can also be help in treatments such as cauterization of a bleeding vessel, widening a narrow esophagus, clipping off a polyp or removing a foreign object.

When is endoscopy done?

Endoscopy is a method of diagnosis of various factors, such as any abnormal growth or any other complications in the internal organs. It is not a form of treatment for anything.  An endoscopy can help detect cancer in various parts of the body. However, it is not a medical procedure to treat cancer. An endoscopy might be necessary for various reasons such as:

Early cancer detection and prevention

An endoscopy can help to perform a biopsy to support cancer or other disease diagnoses for the confirmation of a diagnosis

To determine the origin of symptoms

An endoscope also helps to look for the source of symptoms like vomiting, stomach pain, breathing problems, stomach ulcers, difficulties swallowing, or gastrointestinal bleeding.

For treatment assistance

Endoscopes are used by doctors during some procedures. An endoscope can treat a condition directly; for example, it can help to remove a polyp or cauterize (close with heat) a bleeding vessel.

An endoscopy might occasionally be paired with another procedure, such an ultrasound scan. It can also help to position the ultrasonic probe close to organs, including the pancreatic, that can be challenging to scan.

Some contemporary endoscopes have sensitive lights for narrow-band imaging. This kind of imaging employs certain blue and green wavelengths, making it easier for the doctor to identify precancerous diseases. Local anesthesia is necessary in most cases during the procedure. As the person has to be under sedation. 

Surgical assistance 

A customized endoscope can now help in various types of surgery thanks to advancements in endoscopy. As a result, the procedure is less intrusive. A modified endoscope, a laparoscope is used for keyhole surgery (or laparoscopic surgery).

Compared to conventional surgical methods, this method allows patients to lose less blood during and after surgery and recover considerably more quickly.

What are the various types of endoscopy?

Endoscopies are helpful for examining a variety of bodily systems, including the following:


Inserted through the anus to view the Anus and/or rectum


Inserted through the mouth to view the trachea, or windpipe, and the lungs


Inserted through the mouth to view the stomach and duodenum, which is the beginning of the small intestine


Inserted through a small, surgical opening in the abdomen to view the stomach, liver, or other abdominal organs, including female reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes


Inserted through the mouth to view the larynx or voice box

Risks of endoscopy

Though endoscopy is generally a safe procedure, there are, however, some dangers associated. Risks vary according to the area. Some of them are:

  • oversedation
  • feeling bloated after the surgery for a short while.
  • mild cramps
  • problems caused by existing conditions

There can also be more severe problems such as:

  • shortness of breath, severe
  • prolonged stomach pain
  • dark-colored stool

Recovery from endoscopy

The type of operation will determine the recovery. The patient will be under observation following an upper endoscopy, which allows a doctor to inspect the upper gastrointestinal system. This typically lasts for an hour as the effects of any sedatives wear off. Any side effects should be discussed with a clinician either before leaving the surgery area or after.

There could be some pain. It is also possible to experience bloating and a sore throat after this kind of endoscopy. Endoscopic procedures are generally minimally invasive and can be through the mouth, anus, or tiny incisions. These methods can be to examine, identify, or treat various ailments.

These operations have minimal complications, and patients are frequently released from the hospital within a few hours. There could be some side effects, such as bloating or a sore throat, which do not last long.  In case of persistent side effects, the patient should consult their doctor.

Can endoscopy remove cancer?

As mentioned earlier, endoscopy is a diagnostic method more than a treatment method. And so endoscopy can aid in the detection of cancer and may also assist in the surgical procedure, but it is not a way to remove or eliminate a tumor. With the help of endoscopy alone, we will not be able to remove a tumor completely. The complete removal of a tumor requires surgery that is appropriate to the type of tumor, its stage and various other factors.

However, even surgery ensures the removal of cancerous cells from the specific body and not the complete elimination of cancer itself from the body in cases of advanced or metastasized cancer. Endoscopy can help to detect cancer and even assist in certain surgeries, but it is not a treatment method for cancer. For the physical removal of cancer, a surgery is more appropriate; for the complete removal of cancer, a combination of various methods is necessary. 


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