Stomach Cancer: Most Common Symptoms (Don’t Ignore Them)
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is cancer developing from the lining of the stomach. Early symptoms may include heartburn, upper abdominal pain, nausea and loss of appetite. Later signs and symptoms may include weight loss, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes,
vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and blood in the stool among others.The cancer may spread from the stomach to other parts of the body, particularly the liver, lungs, bones, lining of the abdomen and lymph nodes.
The most common cause is infection by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori,
which accounts for more than 60% of cases. Certain types of H. pylori have greater risks than others. Other common causes include eating pickled vegetables and smoking. About 10% of cases run in families and between 1% and 3% of cases are due to genetic syndromes inherited from a person’s parents such as hereditary diffuse gastric cancer.
Most cases of stomach cancers are gastric carcinomas. This type can be divided into a number of subtypes. Lymphomas and mesenchymal tumors may also develop in the stomach. Most of the time, stomach cancer develops in stages over years. Diagnosis is usually by biopsy done during endoscopy.
Stomach cancer is a deadly disease which is not so common as decades ago, but unfortunately, there are still more than 24 000 new cases in the USA every year. The survival rate is great (over 90%) if the disease is caught in the early stages. However, the symptoms of stomach cancer are often not noticeable until the cancer spreads. In advanced stages, the disease is not treatable, with the survival rate being only 3% over 5 years.
So, how can it be stopped if it doesn’t show any symptoms? The key is to learn the risk factors and learn how to recognize the early signs of stomach cancer. Sometimes the symptoms are mild that people ignore them, which often turns out to be a fatal mistake. Here are the early signs of stomach cancer according to the American Cancer Society:
Nausea and vomiting;
Pain in the abdomen;
Indigestion or heartburn;
Diarrhea or constipation;
Frequent bloating after meals;
Weakness and fatigue;
Loss of appetite;
Blood in the stool.
Here are the main risk factors for stomach cancer:
Gender – men are more prone to the disease;
Age over 55;
Family history of stomach cancer;
Diet rich in smoked, dried, salted and pickled foods;
Presence of a bacteria called H. Pylori in the stomach.
If you recognize some of the symptoms or risk factors and you suspect you’re suffering from stomach cancer, you need to talk to your doctor immediately. He\she will probably refer you to a gastroenterologist, who will evaluate your condition further and will be able to tell you if there’s a problem.
Getting rid of H. pylori in those who are infected decreases the risk of stomach cancer, at least in those who are Asian. A 2014 meta-analysis of observational studies found that a diet high in fruits, mushrooms, garlic, soybeans, and green onions was associated with a lower risk of stomach cancer in the Korean population. Low doses of vitamins, especially from a healthy diet, decrease the risk of stomach cancer. A previous review of antioxidant supplementation did not find supporting evidence and possibly worse outcomes.