Stomach functions as an important organ of the digestive system in which the process of digestion takes place. It not only helps digest but also stores the food. Stomach cancer is the formation of cancerous cells in the stomach lining. The cause of the stomach cancer is unknown. A few factors that may raise your risk for the disease includes an infection with a common bacteria H. pylori that cause ulcers, long-lasting anemia, and the abnormal tissue growth in the mucous membrane called polyp.
Early detection of the symptoms of stomach cancer will reduce the chance of complications. If treated early, stomach cancer patients may have 90 percent survival rate. Unfortunately, the symptoms of this disease rarely occur, unless spread through the stomach and to other organs. These are often so mild that the person may ignore them.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), there will be 24,590 new cases of stomach cancer in 2015. It also estimates that stomach cancer is relatively rare cancer compared to other types of cancer.
Common factors that increase the risk of developing stomach cancer include:
- Age 55 years or more
- Male gender
- A diet rich in food that is smoked dried, salted or pickled
- Smoking and alcohol abuse
- A previous stomach surgery
- Having a family history
- Working in coal, metal, timber or rubber industries
- Getting exposed to asbestos
The early symptoms of stomach cancer include:
1. Indigestion or heartburn
2. Discomfort or pain in the abdomen
3. Bloating of stools after the meals
4. Loss of appetite
5. Bleeding (Vomiting blood or having blood in the stools)
6. Diarrhea or constipation
7. Nausea and vomiting
8. Weakness and fatigue
There are many treatments available, for the stomach cancer and the doctors choose the treatments depending on how long you had the disease or how it has spread in the body.
1. Surgery– It stops cancer spreading to other parts of the body and may help to get rid of the tumor.
2. Chemotherapy– Usage of drugs will kill the cancer cells. It may cause side effects but the doctor will suggest an alternate way feel better.
3. Radiation– It can kill cancer cells and shrink the tumor with high-energy waves or particles.
4. Targeted drugs- The novel drugs fight only the cancer cells.
Certain preventive measures that lower the risk for developing the stomach cancer include
5. Treating a stomach infection early with antibiotics can kill the bacteria and other drugs will heal the sores in the lining of your stomach to cut your risk of cancer.
6. Eating healthy food like fresh fruits and vegetables rich in fiber and vitamin will cut the cancer risk.
7. Less smoking may reduce the cancer risk.
Being watchful on the early sign of the stomach cancer will improve the survival and decrease complications. Don’t panic, if you are suffering from the early warning signs of stomach cancers, consult your doctor and he may refer you to the gastroenterologist for further evaluation.