Raising Stomach Cancer Awareness This November
Many individuals likely know at least one person who is diagnosed with or who has experienced some type of cancer. You may even be affected by this condition. Though many individuals can identify the signs of breast cancer, or other common cancers, stomach cancer is one variation that can arise quickly and silently, and frequently isn’t detected until it’s in the later stages. In an effort to bring awareness to this often silent disease, November is designated as Stomach Cancer Awareness Month.
Below, you will explore pertinent information you should know about stomach cancer so you might broaden your awareness of this condition and know what to do should you happen to find yourself facing it. If you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with stomach cancer or is at increased risk, contact Digestive Health Associates of Texas to request a consultation. Our skilled gastroenterologists in Dallas, TX can help you get the advanced care you need.
What is stomach cancer?
The condition of stomach cancer, or gastric cancer, impacts the lives of around 30,000 people in the United States annually. The disease arises when the cells present in the stomach begin to proliferate uncontrollably. Gastric cancer frequently occurs over several years and initiates with precancerous growths in the stomach lining. These changes can occur without detection since they don’t generally present any obvious signs or symptoms.
Given that assessing for gastric cancer is not conducted as commonly as colon and rectal cancer, it may frequently go undiagnosed until the condition has progressed in size or spread. When this happens, individuals will most likely begin to present with symptoms.
What are the common symptoms of stomach cancer?
As the disease further develops, there are an array of common gastric cancer signs and symptoms that may appear, such as:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Blood in the stool
- Poor appetite
- Feeling full even after eating a small amount of food
- Fatigue or weakness
- Heartburn symptoms/abdominal discomfort
- Unintentional weight loss
In the event you have any of these stomach cancer symptoms, our skilled Dallas, TX gastroenterologists can help. Please contact our team at Digestive Health Associates of Texas to visit a skilled provider.
Who is at risk of gastric cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society®, the average age of an individual diagnosed with stomach cancer is 68 — and approximately 60% of those who receive a stomach cancer diagnosis are older than 65.
There is a range of other things that increase a person's chance of developing stomach cancer outside of age, including:
- Previous stomach problems (such as stomach ulcers, reflux, polyps, or Menetrier disease)
- Diet (more common among individuals who eat a high-sodium diet or a lot of processed foods)
- Occupation (more common in people who work in the metal, coal, or rubber industries)
- Weight (more common in obese or overweight individuals)
- Ethnicity (more common in Hispanic, African American, Native American, and Asian/Pacific individuals)
- Family history of stomach cancer
- Alcohol consumption and tobacco use
- Geographic location (more prevalent in those from South American, Central America, Eastern Europe, and East Asia)
- Gender (more prevalent among men)
How is stomach cancer treated?
In the event you or a family member has been diagnosed with gastric cancer, our Dallas, TX gastrointestinal (GI) doctors can determine a dynamic treatment plan to address the form, stage, and progression of the disease.
The treatment approaches we might consider involve chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and more. Our doctors will also take your general health, age, and other information into consideration when developing this treatment strategy.
Is there a way to avoid stomach cancer?
Although there is no fail-safe method to prevent the occurrence of gastric cancer, there are some things you can do to minimize the risks. These include:
- Getting regular exercise
- Not smoking
- Consuming a well-balanced diet containing plenty of fresh fruits (especially citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges) and veggies, limited processed or red meats, and whole grains
- Maintaining a healthy weight
Raising awareness is the first step in stomach cancer prevention
At Digestive Health Associates of Texas, we want to help the patients we treat experience happy, healthy lives now and in the future. Though our team is dedicated to addressing your GI concerns, we are passionate about providing the vital information needed to possibly prevent certain gastrointestinal conditions and issues. Since Stomach Cancer Awareness Month is upon us, now is the time to be proactive. Request a consultation with our Dallas, TX gastroenterology team to learn your risk of gastric cancer and how you can protect your health and wellness.