Gastric & Stomach Cancer Awareness

Topacio Garrido, MS, CTR Oncology Leave a Comment

Gastric & Stomach Cancer Awareness

November is Gastric & Stomach Cancer Awareness month, and it is important to bring awareness to this type of cancer. My grandfather passed away in 2015 from this very type of cancer and I wish he was more informed about his symptoms. Looking back, I recalled him complaining about stomach pain and heartburn for a couple of years but never did it occur to him that it was more than just gastric issues. It is very important to bring awareness about stomach cancer because this type of cancer is very aggressive. Stomach cancer can be difficult to diagnose at an early stage and if found early can be curable. It is often diagnosed at an advanced stage and misdiagnosed as normal gastrointestinal issues.

Some of the symptoms of stomach cancer are:

  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss (without trying)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
  • Feeling full after eating only a small meal
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Vomiting, with or without blood

Risk factors may include:

  • Smoking
  • Diet of highly processed or salty foods.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Infection in the stomach caused by a germ called Helicobacter pylori
  • Gastritis
  • Growths of noncancerous cells in the stomach, called polyps
  • Family history of stomach cancer
  • Family history of genetic syndromes that increase the risk of stomach cancer

Treatment options include surgery, medications, radiation, and chemotherapy.

To lower the risk of stomach cancer, you should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and decrease the amount of salt and smoked foods you eat. Smoking can increase your risk of stomach cancer and many other types of cancer. It is also important to let your healthcare provider know if stomach cancer runs in your family. Individuals with a strong family history of stomach cancer might have stomach cancer screening. Screening tests can detect stomach cancer at an early stage before symptoms occur and can save your life. According to “The American Cancer Society’s estimates for stomach cancer in the United States for 2022 are:

  • About 26,380 new cases of stomach cancer (15,900 in men and 10,480 in women)
  • About 11,090 deaths from this type of cancer (6,690 men and 4,400 women)”

The risk of getting stomach cancer is higher in men than in women. According to the American Cancer Society, it has become less prevalent in the United States due to the decline in the number of people infected with the Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) bacteria, which is thought to be a major cause of stomach cancer. This cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world.

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