Cancer cells growing uncontrollably in the lining of the stomach form tumors that can attack normal tissues and spread to other parts of the body this is how gastric cancer develops.
Gastric cancer does not always show up with recognizable symptoms early on. The symptoms it may be identified with such as nausea, vomiting, blood in stool, and unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite or bloating after meals, and fatigue can also be linked with other diseases such as peptic ulcer or gastritis.
So it is important to refer to a doctor when there is discomfort or pain in the stomach. While you may be treated for the lesser diseases, if the symptoms persist then you should go in for a second opinion.
Research shows that the incidence of gastric cancer worldwide is high and is still a worrisome cause of death from cancer. It is more common in males and African-Americans than Caucasians. Gastric cancer usually appears after the age of 40.
It is also seen more in countries such as China or Japan, perhaps as a result of the diet of these populations. Diets rich in salt and preserved foods can cause a variety of diseases and gastric cancer is one of them.
Diets comprising of fruits and vegetables and dietary fiber lead to a decreased risk of cancer. The use of tobacco is also a risk factor. In addition, studies have also connected an infection from Helicobacte pylori with gastric cancer.
However, though we have listed the risk factors for gastric cancer there is no known reason why it develops. Therefore, there is no way of knowing how to avoid it except to follow a few simple rules.
Reduce the salt in your diet as well as the intake of preserved, pickled and smoked foods. Beta carotene and vitamin C decrease the risk of cancer so eat vegetables and fruits that contain these. If you have had gastritis then consult your doctor so you can detect if you have been infected by H. pylori.
There are some tests that can help to determine if a patient is suffering from gastric cancer such as double-contrast barium radiography and upper endoscopies.
An upper endoscopy has a camera at the end of a long tube that is sent down a patient’s throat to the stomach itself.
The doctor performing this procedure can visualize the stomach and detect abnormalities such as ulcers and cancers. Patients are sedated during this procedure, so they suffer the minimum of discomfort. Ultrasound, CT scans, and PET scans all complement each other when testing for gastric cancer.
Before treatment starts blood tests are carried out to check for blood count, and to determine if the liver and kidneys are all normal.
Gastric cancer spreads through the stomach wall into adjacent areas and organs. It can also spread through the lymphatic system to lymph nodes that are in the vicinity of the liver, spleen, and pancreas.
The bloodstream can carry cancer cells to other parts of the body. The most common treatment for gastric cancer is surgery.
A partial or total gastrectomy may be performed depending on the staging of the cancer.
Partial resection of the spleen, small intestine, and pancreas may also be done if the cancer has spread to these areas. Radiation and chemotherapy are recommended to combat recurrence of the cancer. Follow up testing is also advocated after gastric cancer treatment.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms detailed above, don’t take them lightly. You could just have gastritis or an ulcer but rule these out as well as the possibility of it being anything more serious.