What’s stomach cancer? Well, stomach cancer begins when cancer cells form in the inner lining of your stomach. These cells can grow into a tumor. Also called gastric cancer, the disease usually grows slowly over many years.If you know the symptoms it causes, you and your doctor may be able to spot it early, when it’s easiest to treat.Although stomach cancer is about one-fourth as common as it was 70 years ago, 24,000 new cases are diagnosed annually in the United States. If caught early, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent. But, unfortunately, symptoms rarely occur until the disease spreads throughout the stomach and to other organs. At this advanced stage, the cancer is no longer treatable, and the five-year survival rate is only three percent.
And now you probably ask yourself – how can you stop this stealthy, silent killer before it strikes you? Well, we can help you with that problem – you should arm yourself with knowledge by learning the risk factors and the warning signs of stomach cancer. Stomach cancer can be hard to detect because when the symptoms finally do occur, they are often so mild that the person ignores them. According to the American Cancer Society, the following symptoms could indicate stomach cancer:
- indigestion or heartburn
- discomfort or pain in the abdomen
- nausea and vomiting
- diarrhea or constipation
- bloating of the stomach after meals
- loss of appetite
- weakness and fatigue
- bleeding (vomiting blood or having blood in the stool)
Are You at Risk?
Here’s what you need to know – well, scientists don’t know exactly what makes cancer cells start growing in the stomach. But they do know a few things that can raise your risk for the disease. One of them is infection with a common bacterium, H. pylori, which causes ulcers. Inflammation in your gut called gastritis, long-lasting anemia, and growths in your stomach called polyps also can make you more likely to get cancer.
- age (over 55)
- gender (males are two-thirds more likely than women)
- diet high in foods that are smoked, dried, salted, or pickled
- smoking and alcohol abuse
- previous stomach surgery
- family history
- presence in stomach of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, which may cause ulcers
Well, ladies and gentlemen, this means that you should be very careful and if you suffer from the warning signs of stomach cancer or are worried about your risk, talk to your doctor. He or she may refer you to a gastroenterologist (a physician who specializes in digestive disorders) for further evaluation. We really hope you find this article helpful and don’t forget to share it with your friends and family.