Cancer, Gerd and the Power of Modern Surgical Innovations

d"The ERBEJET 2 allows us to do microsurgery using an endoscope to remove early-stage cancer from the esophagus and stomach,” Dr. Qiabi explains.  Attached to a high-powered pump, the scope is inserted down the throat where it uses pressurized water to lift and cut layers of tissue from the inside. The technique is not only safer, but the recovery time is much faster as well. What used to be two-weeks-worth of recovery has been reduced to a staggering 24 hours. “Our goal is to get it down to being a day procedure,” Dr. Qiabi says, anticipating continued success.

Apart from the enhanced speed and accuracy offered by the ERBEJET 2 is perhaps an even greater benefit: expanding the pool of patients who can be treated. Shortly after receiving the ERBEJET 2, Dr. Qiabi saw a patient who was extremely sick. They were suffering from liver cirrhosis, heart failure and several other ailments on top of needing cancer removed from their stomach.  “That patient had a prohibitive risk to surgery because of how sick they were,” he says. “Before, we would have had to turn them away but the minimalist approach of the ERBEJET 2 allows us to help more people and that’s what makes it so great.”

However, despite the expansion of care offered by this new machine, there remains a general lack of awareness
surrounding acid reflux’s association with cancer. With obesity also on the rise in the Western world—a major cause of reflux—Dr. Qiabi says we are guaranteed to see a lot more instances of esophageal and stomach cancer. “A lot of people suffer in silence,” he says. “They think reflux is just a normal part of their lives. But the burning sensation characteristic of reflux is absolutely not normal, and I think people need to hear that.”

For now, Dr. Qiabi is thankful to the donors who made it possible for him to treat people with early-stage esophageal or stomach cancer. But until systems are in place to make screening more available, it’s important for people to take charge of their health and investigate should they suspect reflux.

Article as published in: OUR IMPACT 2023, winter edition - London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC)WINTER 2023 / Page 14-15