Here's Why Stomach Cancer Awareness Month is Important
Many individuals likely know someone who is diagnosed with or who has had cancer. You may even be living with this condition. Though a number of people are familiar with the symptoms of breast cancer, or other common types of cancer, stomach cancer is one variation that can occur quietly and quickly, and often isn’t detected until it’s in the later stages. In an effort to raise awareness of this frequently silent disease, November has been denoted as Stomach Cancer Awareness Month.
Read on to find important information you should know about stomach cancer to increase your awareness of this disease and know what to do if you ever find yourself dealing with it. If you or a family member has stomach cancer or are at elevated risk, please contact Adult Gastroenterology Associates to request a visit. Our board-certified gastroenterologists in Tulsa, OK can help you receive the expert treatment you need.
How does stomach cancer develop?
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, impacts the lives of approximately 30,000 people across the United States annually. It forms when the cells within the stomach start to grow out of control. It commonly develops over several years and initiates with precancerous growths within the stomach lining. Such developments frequently occur without detection because they don’t usually present any obvious symptoms.
Because screening for stomach cancer is not as common as colorectal cancer, this disease might frequently go undiagnosed until the condition has advanced or grown quite large. When this happens, individuals will likely begin to have signs or symptoms.
Are there common signs of stomach cancer?
As the disease further develops, there are a number of common stomach cancer signs and symptoms that may occur, such as:
- Heartburn/abdominal discomfort
- A feeling of fullness even after having a small amount of food
- Fatigue or weakness
- Decreased appetite
- Blood in the stool
- Unintentional weight loss
- Nausea and/or vomiting
If you or a family member experience any of these stomach cancer symptoms, our skilled Tulsa, OK gastroenterologists can help. Please contact our team at Adult Gastroenterology Associates to visit a provider.
What are the risk factors for developing stomach cancer?
Per the American Cancer Society® (ACS), the average age of a person diagnosed with stomach cancer is 68, and about 6 out of 10 of those diagnosed are over the age of 65.
There are a range of additional things that elevate an individual's chance of developing stomach cancer beyond their age, including:
- Occupation (more common in people who work in the metal, rubber, or coal industries)
- Weight (more prevalent in obese or overweight people)
- Ethnicity (more prevalent among Asian/Pacific, Native American, African American, and Hispanic individuals)
- Gender (more prevalent in males)
- Diet (more common in people who eat a high-sodium diet or a large amount of processed foods)
- Family history of gastric cancer
- Geographic location (more common in those from Central America, South America, East Asia, and Eastern Europe)
- History of stomach conditions (such as Menetrier disease, polyps, acid reflux, or stomach ulcers)
- Tobacco and alcohol use
How is stomach cancer treated?
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, our Tulsa, OK gastrointestinal doctors can create a dynamic stomach cancer treatment option depending on the form, stage, and spread of the condition.
Some options your doctor might advise involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, and more. Your doctor will also take your overall health, age, and other factors into consideration when generating your treatment strategy.
Can I prevent gastric cancer?
Though there is no infallible way to prevent the development of gastric cancer, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risks. These involve:
- Consuming a colorful diet filled with plenty of fresh fruits (especially citrus fruits, like lemons and oranges) and veggies, whole grains, and limited processed or red meats
- Avoiding tobacco use
- Exercising regularly
- Keeping an ideal weight
Raising awareness is the first step in preventing stomach cancer
At Adult Gastroenterology Associates, our goal is to help our patients enjoy healthy, happy lives for as long as possible. While our team is always here for your gastrointestinal needs, our team is passionate about offering the important information needed to possibly prevent certain gastrointestinal concerns and issues. Since Stomach Cancer Awareness Month is upon us, now is the perfect time to take action. Request a consultation with our Tulsa, OK gastroenterology team to find out your risk of gastric cancer and how you can take steps to safeguard your GI wellness.