Stomach Cancer: Importance of Early Diagnosis and Knowing its Symptoms
Stomach cancer or gastric cancer develops in the innermost tissue layer of the human stomach. As it grows, it spread outwards through the other four layers, growing as a tumor.
Stomach cancer caused 783,000 deaths worldwide in 2018. It is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths and the sixth most common cancer in the world, mentions a World Health Organisation (WHO) report.
Despite having a low penetration in high-salary nations, stomach cancer has a 29% survival rate and around 90–95% of all stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas. When the stomach cancer spreads, the malignant growth gets generated from the cells that form the mucosa, the coating of the stomach that produces bodily fluid.
Among the individuals over age 55, 1 out of 111 will have stomach cancer. The disease is hard to identify during initial stage. It is, however, frequently analyzed after it has spread to different parts of the body.
Therefore, to raise awareness about the signs, symptoms, risk factors, prevention and survival from stomach cancer, the month of November is observed as the National Stomach Cancer Awareness Month.
So, What is Stomach Cancer and What are the Risk Factors?
Stomach cancer is essentially a build-up of abnormal cells that form a mass in the stomach. It can develop in any part of the stomach. Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control.
There are different types of stomach cancers like: Adenocarcinoma (about 90% to 95% stomach cancers are of this type), Lymphoma, Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST), Carcinoid Tumor, etc.
Different types of stomach cancer have different risk factors. Scientists have found several risk factors that make a person more likely to have stomach cancer. Some of these can be controlled, but others cannot.
- Gender: Women are more prone to stomach cancer than men.
- Age: There is a sharp increase in stomach cancer rates in people over age 50 as most people diagnosed with stomach cancer are between their late 60s and 80s.
- Ethnicity: In the United States, stomach cancer is more common in Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, and Asian/Pacific Islanders than it is in non-Hispanic whites.
- Diet: An increased risk of stomach cancer is seen in people with diets that have large amounts of smoked foods, salted fish and meat, and pickled vegetables.
- Tobacco: Smoking increases stomach cancer risk, particularly for cancers of the upper portion of the stomach near the esophagus.
- Being overweight: Obesity is a cause of cancer near the upper part of the stomach, but the strength of this link is not yet clear.
- Blood Group A: For some unknown reasons, people with A blood Group have a higher risk of getting stomach cancer.
- Helicobacter Pylori Infection: Infection with Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) bacteria seems to be a major cause of stomach cancer.
- Family History: People with first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, or children) who have had stomach cancer are more likely to develop this disease.
What Causes Stomach Cancer?
Despite all the developments in the medical science and technology, scientists are yet to find the reason why cancer actually happens. But there are some theories that may have an answer to this question.
One of them is contamination with a typical microorganism, H. pylori, which causes ulcers. Aggravation in your gut and developments in your stomach called polyps additionally can make you bound to get the disease.
In addition to that, as indicated by researchers, smoking, stoutness, salty nourishments, stomach medical procedure for an ulcer, type-A blood Epstein-Barr infection contamination, working in coal, metal, timber, or elastic enterprises, presentation to asbestos, etc. play an important part in the development of stomach cancer.
Stomach Cancer Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of stomach cancer may not appear for many years, due to the fact that the development of cell in this disease takes place very slowly. Many people with stomach cancer do not receive a diagnosis until the disease is already advanced and has been diagnosed.
Some of the common symptoms that hint that a patient may have stomach cancer are:
- Feeling bloated after you eat a meal
- Slight nausea
- Loss of appetite
However, simply having acid reflux or indigestion after a supper doesn’t mean you have the disease. Be that as it may, in the event that you feel these side effects every now and then, speak to your doctor immediately.
As the stomach cancer advances, some people might experience the following symptoms:
- Build-up of fluid in the stomach, which may cause the stomach to feel lumpy to the touch
- Black stools with traces of blood
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Yellowish eyes or skin
- Constipation or diarrhea
The doctor may have idea whether or not an individual has stomach cancer reading his symptoms, family history, and medical history, and lifestyle choices. They may perform a physical assessment to check for stomach unevenness.
The patient can also be asked to undergo a variety of blood tests to recognize whether there is a malignant growth.
- Upper Endoscopy: In this, the professional uses an endoscope to get a glimpse of what is inside the stomach. This procedure helps the doctor to analyze the condition of the disease in the petient’s throat, stomach, and duodenum. In the event that the specialist presumes disease, they will do a biopsy to gather tissue tests, which they will send to a lab for examination.
- CT Scan: A CAT examination gives point by point pictures of the areas inside the human body. The specialist may infuse a color or ask that the individual swallows it. This color enables the scanner to create more clear pictures of stomach.
- Barium Swallow: In this, the patient swallows a fluid which contains barium that lines the throat and stomach. This procedure helps recognizes oddities in the stomach during an X-ray.
The treatment for stomach cancer depends on several factors, including the severity of disease and the individual’s health and preferences. Treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, medications, and taking part in clinical trials.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a specialized treatment that uses drugs to stop rapidly-growing cancer cells from dividing and multiplying. It is a primary treatment for stomach cancer that has spread to different and distant parts of the body.
- Surgery: A surgeon may try to remove the stomach cancer as well as a margin of healthy tissue. The surgeon needs to do this to ensure that they do not leave any cancerous cells behind. Abdominal surgeries are significant procedures and may require a long recovery period. People may have to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks after the procedure. Several weeks of recovery at home will follow this.
- Trastuzumab (Herceptin): This medicine targets HER2, a protein that promotes cell growth. Some stomach cancers produce an excess of HER2.
- Ramucirumab (Cyramza): This medication focuses on blocking a protein called VEGF that tells the body to produce the new blood vessels that tumors need to grow.
- Immunotherapy: The treatment uses medicines to encourage the body’s immune cells to attack the cancer cells. People with advanced stomach cancer who have received two or more treatments are candidates for immunotherapy.
- Targeted Medications: Targeted therapies recognize and attack specific proteins that cancer cells produce. While chemotherapy targets rapidly dividing cells in general, targeted medications home in on cancer cells with other characteristics.
Often the best approach uses 2 or more of these treatments. A patient’s treatment depends on many factors. The location and the stage (extent of spread) of the tumor are very important factors. Some of the other factors are age, general state of health, and individual preferences of the patient.
- Treat Stomach Infections: If you have ulcers from a H. pylori contamination, get it treated as soon as possible. Anti-infection agents can kill the microscopic organisms, and different medications will mend the bruises in the coating of your stomach to cut your danger of malignant growth. Ideally, any type of ulcer should be treated at the earliest possible.
- Control Aspirin or NSAID Use: If you take daily aspirin to prevent heart problems or NSAID drugs for arthritis, talk to your doctor about how these drugs might affect your stomach.
- Eat Healthy: Get foods grown from the ground on your plate each day. They’re high in fiber and in certain nutrients that can bring down your malignancy hazard. Maintain a strategic distance from extremely salty, cured, relieved, or smoked nourishments like wieners handled lunch meats or smoked cheeses. Keep your weight at a sound level, as well. Being overweight can raise your danger of the inflammation.
- Avoid Smoking: Your stomach cancer risk doubles if you use tobacco.
Do you or a loved one has symptoms of stomach cancer? Visit EPIC Primary Care today! We can provide you with the right consultation, care, attention, and treatment. Call us at 313-861-4400 (Detroit) or 248-336-4000 (Ferndale) to book your appointment!