Elevating Stomach Cancer Awareness During the Month of November
Many people likely know at least one person who is diagnosed with or who has experienced some form of cancer. You might even be living with this condition. While several people know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, skin cancer, or other common forms of cancer, stomach cancer is one type that can develop quietly and quickly, and often isn’t noticed until it’s in the later stages. To bring awareness to this frequently silent but serious disease, November has been named Stomach Cancer Awareness Month.
Continue reading to find helpful information you should understand about stomach cancer to elevate your awareness of this disease and know how to proceed if you ever find yourself face-to-face with this health concern. In the event you or someone you love has been diagnosed with stomach cancer or are at greater risk, please get in touch with Texas Digestive Disease Consultants to request a consultation. Our team of gastroenterologists in DFW can help you receive the expert care you need.
How does stomach cancer develop?
Stomach cancer, or gastric cancer, is diagnosed in nearly 30,000 individuals across the U.S. every year. The disease arises when the cells located in the stomach start to proliferate beyond control. Gastric cancer often occurs over the course of several years and initiates with precancerous growths within the lining of the stomach. Such changes often go undetected because they don’t usually have any associated signs or symptoms.
Since assessing for gastric cancer does not occur as commonly as colon cancer, this disease might frequently go unnoticed until it has spread or grown quite large. At this stage, people will most likely start to show symptoms.
What are the symptoms of gastric cancer?
As it progresses, there are a number of common stomach cancer symptoms that may develop. These include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Decreased appetite
- A feeling of fullness even after eating a small amount of food
- Bloody stool
- Weakness or fatigue
- Heartburn/abdominal discomfort
- Unexplained weight loss
If you have any of these stomach cancer symptoms, our skilled DFW gastroenterologists can help. Please contact our team at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants to visit a provider.
Who is at risk of stomach cancer?
As indicated by the American Cancer Society®, the average age of an individual diagnosed with stomach cancer is 68. Furthermore, approximately 6 out of 10 of those who receive a stomach cancer diagnosis are over the age of 65.
Several other factors can elevate the risk of having gastric cancer apart from their age, though, such as:
- Occupation (more common among individuals who work in the metal, coal, or rubber industries)
- Diet (more common in individuals who consume a high-sodium diet or a large quantity of processed foods)
- Gender (more common among males)
- Ethnicity (more common in Native American, African American, Hispanic, and Pacific/Asian individuals)
- Location (more common in those from South American, Central America, Eastern Europe, and East Asia)
- Family history
- History of stomach problems (such as acid reflux, polyps, stomach ulcers, or Menetrier disease)
- Tobacco use and alcohol consumption
- Weight (more prevalent among obese or overweight individuals)
How is gastric cancer treated?
Should you or someone you love receive a stomach cancer diagnosis, our DFW gastrointestinal (GI) doctors can determine a personalized stomach cancer treatment strategy to address the form, stage, and spread.
Types of treatment plans we may recommend involve radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and more. Your doctor will also take your overall health, age, and other information into account when devising your treatment protocol.
Can I avoid gastric cancer?
While there is no fail-safe method to prevent the occurrence of gastric cancer, there are a few things you can do to decrease your risks, such as:
- Avoiding smoking
- Getting regular exercise
- Eating a colorful diet containing fresh fruits (particularly citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons) and vegetables, limited processed or red meats, and whole grains
- Staying at a healthy weight
Awareness is the first step in protecting against stomach cancer
At Texas Digestive Disease Consultants, we strive to help the patients we treat live healthy, happy lives. Although we are devoted to addressing your gastrointestinal needs, we are passionate about offering the information required to potentially prevent certain digestive concerns and issues. Since Stomach Cancer Awareness Month is in effect, now is the time to take action. Schedule a consultation with our DFW gastroenterology team to find out if you are at risk for stomach cancer and how you might protect your health and wellness.