Gastric cancer — A Detailed Report
Gastric cancer is also referred to as the cancer of stomach. As the name indicates, it pertains to the cancer arising in any part of stomach. Stomach cancer, is a very dangerous disease and causes almost a lot of deaths per year on worldwide basis. The most ironic aspect of stomach cancer is inability of patients to fight the infection due to malnutrition (food intake is greatly affected due to location and symptoms of cancer)
Symptoms of Gastric/Stomach Cancer:
Usually there are no specific symptoms of gastric cancer in the beginning and it is because of this feature that the timely diagnosis is very difficult until cancer spread to other organs. Stomach cancer causes only nonspecific symptoms in its early stages. A stage wise analysis of the symptoms of gastric cancer is as follows:
The primary features of stomach cancer are:
- In early stages the patient experiences loss of appetite, indigestion, burning and abdominal irritation and discomfort.
- These symptoms then progressively worse and patient suffers from general fatigue, feeling of being tired without doing anything and weakness. Sometimes bloating also occurs after meals.
- If no workup is done by that time, more serious symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, significant weight loss, diarrhea, bleeding from vomiting and stool and anemia are observed. All these symptoms occur due to loss of appetite, low food intake and lump of cancer that obstruct or irritate the stomach
Risk factors for gastric cancer:
- Bacterial infection:
Usually the untreated infection caused by the bacteria (H.pylori) is believed to be the most significant risk factor for gastric cancer. This bacteria cause gastritis or gastric ulcer in many individuals, which is a fairly common finding in adults.
In addition to this diet also plays an important role in generating gastric cancer. Foods like pickled vegetables, salted fish and smoked increase the risk of gastric cancer.
Like many other cancers, gastric cancer also has strong association with gastric cancer. This is because of long standing irritation caused by cigarette smoke that irritates the gastric lining leading to cancer. Alcohol consumption is also linked to stomach cancer.
- Race or family History:
Although not clear, but it has been observed that Japanese race is more vulnerable to stomach cancers (as the highest rate of stomach cancer is in Japan).
Diagnosis of Gastric Cancer:
Based on the possible causes and symptoms of gastric cancer, medical history and family history of the patient, the doctor carries out diagnostic examination of the patient. This may either comprise of physical examination or laboratory tests. In order to avoid complications, it is recommended to treat the cancer in its early stages.
How can you ditch Gastric Cancer?
- Eating fresh fruit and vegetables supplies the body with antioxidant vitamins which greatly lower down the risk of stomach cancer.
- Eating a high fiber diet is protective against many cancers of gastro-intestinal tract like stomach and intestines (Colon Cancer).
- Smoking is one of the strongest risk factors for almost all cancers and must be avoided at all costs. Same is true for alcohol consumption.
- Last but not the least, smoked meats and pickles must also be avoided if you have a positive family history of stomach cancer.