November Is Stomach Cancer Awareness Month


With the potential to develop nearly in any location within the body, cancer is a serious disease that involves uncontrolled and abnormal cellular growth. Per the American Cancer Society, about 26,000 new stomach cancer cases are reported annually. Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, causes approximately 1.5% of new cancer cases in the United States. With November being the dedicated Gastric Cancer Awareness Month, Texas Digestive Disease Consultants is committed to informing the community about the risk factors for gastric cancer and how the disease might be addressed.

In the event you or a family member is diagnosed with gastric cancer, it's important to seek out a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist in DFW to make certain you receive the specialized treatment needed. Speak with our team at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants to find out more.

What is stomach cancer?

The stomach is found in the upper abdomen and is where the foods you eat are stored and processed. If cancer cells form in the inner lining of any portion of the stomach, it's diagnosed as stomach cancer or gastric cancer. Although cancer can impact any portion of the stomach, in the U.S., the condition often affects the gastroesophageal junction, or where the esophagus connects with the stomach. Gastric cancer has been decreasing among U.S. patients; however, the disease is still a leading source of cancer deaths throughout the rest of the world.

What are the warning signs of stomach cancer?

Gastric cancer is slow growing and can take years to develop. Given that cancer of the stomach isn't too common in the United States, there are no large healthcare groups that suggest regular testing for people with an average risk for stomach cancer. The early stages of stomach cancer might not carry any signs or symptoms, though patients who do notice symptoms often experience the following:

  • Recurrent queasiness

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • Acid reflux

  • Pain in the abdomen

  • Decreased appetite

  • Swelling in the abdomen

Should you or a loved one have any of these symptoms, it's vital to seek specialized treatment from a DFW gastroenterologist as early as possible. Reach out to Texas Digestive Disease Consultants to meet with a gastroenterologist.

What are the risk factors for gastric cancer?

Some individuals are more likely to develop gastric cancer. At times, these risk factors include having a genetic predisposition to certain conditions, like Lynch syndrome, which also elevates the risk of uterine cancer, pancreatic cancer, and colorectal cancer. Further risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop cancer of the stomach are:

  • Alcohol use

  • A family history of stomach cancer

  • Being a smoker

  • Being male

  • Previous stomach surgery

  • Obesity

  • Work-related exposure

  • Being over 55

Speak with a DFW gastrointestinal doctor about having regular stomach cancer screenings, like an upper endoscopy, if you are at a heightened risk for gastric cancer. You can schedule an upper endoscopy and consult a gastrointestinal doctor by contacting Texas Digestive Disease Consultants.

Surgical treatments for stomach cancer

Stomach cancer is mostly addressed with surgical intervention. After the cancerous mass is excised (removed), radiation treatment and chemotherapy might also be used to reduce the chance of the cancer returning. Generally speaking, there are three primary surgeries for treating stomach cancer:

  • Endoscopic mucosal resection: With this approach, a long tube called an endoscope is utilized to take out the malignant tissue within the stomach.

  • Subtotal (or partial) gastrectomy: During this surgical procedure, part of the stomach is removed, and the surrounding structures are reattached. Partial gastrectomy might additionally include the removal of nearby lymph nodes or other tissue.

  • Total gastrectomy: With a total gastrectomy, the entire stomach and neighboring lymph nodes are removed, and a new stomach is recreated from part of the small bowel.

Get care for stomach cancer in DFW

Throughout November, we are proud to help spread awareness of stomach cancer throughout our local community. Should you or a family member receive a stomach cancer diagnosis, understand that expert help is close at hand. Texas Digestive Disease Consultants is a patient-centered organization of gastroenterologists and a dependable name in the field of GI health. Get in touch with our facility in DFW to further discover how a GI specialist can help address your digestive health needs.