Many Americans likely know at least one person who has or who has had some form of cancer. You might even be affected by this disease. While many individuals know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, or other common types of cancer, stomach cancer is one type that can arise quietly and quickly, and often isn’t diagnosed until the later stages. In an effort to bring awareness to this commonly silent disease, November has been named Stomach Cancer Awareness Month.
Below, you will discover a variety of information you should know about stomach cancer so you may have a heightened awareness of this disease and understand what to do should you happen to find yourself facing it. In the event you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with stomach cancer or is at an increased risk, contact Austin Gastroenterology to request an appointment. Our team of gastroenterologists in Austin, TX can help you receive the advanced treatment you require.
How does stomach cancer develop?
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, impacts the lives of nearly 30,000 people across the U.S. every year. The disease develops when the cells located in the stomach begin to proliferate out of control. Stomach cancer often arises over several years and begins with precancerous growths within the stomach lining. Such developments often occur without detection given that they don’t generally present any obvious signs or symptoms.
As evaluating for stomach cancer is not as common as colon cancer, it may often go undetected until the condition has spread or grown quite large. At this stage, patients will most likely start to present with signs or symptoms.
What are the common signs and symptoms of gastric cancer?
As the disease progresses, there are a number of common stomach cancer symptoms that may develop. These include:
- Vomiting and/or nausea
- Weakness or exhaustion
- Heartburn symptoms/abdominal discomfort
- A feeling of fullness even after consuming a small amount of food
- Poor appetite
- Unintentional weight loss
- Blood in the stool
Should you or a family member experience any of these stomach cancer symptoms, our skilled Austin, TX gastroetnerologists can help. Please contact our team at Austin Gastroenterology to visit a provider.
Am I at risk for developing stomach cancer?
Per the American Cancer Society, the average age of someone diagnosed with stomach cancer is 68, and approximately 60% of those diagnosed are older than 65.
Many additional factors can elevate a person’s chance of having stomach cancer outside of age, including:
- Ethnicity (more prevalent in Native American, African American, Hispanic, and Pacific/Asian individuals)
- Geographic location (more common among those from Central America, South America, East Asia, and Eastern Europe)
- Occupation (more common in those who work in the coal, metal, or rubber industries)
- Previous stomach conditions (such as acid reflux, polyps, stomach ulcers, or Menetrier disease)
- Family history
- Weight (more prevalent among obese or overweight individuals)
- Gender (more prevalent in men)
- Alcohol and tobacco use
- Diet (more prevalent in individuals who eat a high-sodium diet or a large amount of processed foods)
How is gastric cancer treated?
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, our Austin, TX gastrointestinal specialists can develop an individualized treatment plan depending on he type, stage, and spread of the disease.
Forms of treatment protocols our team might advise involve chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, or other services. Our team will also take your overall health, age, and additional information into consideration when determining this treatment plan.
Can I prevent gastric cancer?
While there is no surefire way to prevent the occurrence of stomach cancer, there are a few things you can implement to decrease the risks. These involve:
- Consuming a balanced diet filled with plenty of fresh fruits (particularly citrus fruits, like oranges and lemons) and vegetables, whole grains and limited processed or red meats
- Getting regular exercise
- Staying at a healthy weight
- Avoiding smoking
Awareness is the first step in preventing stomach cancer
At Austin Gastroenterology, we aim to help the patients we treat live healthy, happy lives for as long as possible. Though we are always here for your treatment needs, we are passionate about offering the essential information needed to possibly prevent certain digestive concerns and issues. Since Stomach Cancer Awareness Month is upon us, now is the perfect time to take action. Request a consultation with our Austin, TX gastroenterology specialists to determine your risk of gastric cancer and how you might protect your health and wellness.