November Is Gastric Cancer Awareness Month
Arising nearly anywhere in the body, cancer is a concerning condition that stems from uncontrolled and abnormal cellular growth. As reported by the American Cancer Society, approximately 26,000 new stomach cancer cases develop each year. Gastric cancer, also called stomach cancer, is responsible for around 1.5% of initial cases of cancer diagnosed in U.S. patients. With November being the dedicated National Gastric Cancer Awareness Month, GI Alliance is devoted to educating the community on the signs of stomach cancer and how the condition can be addressed. Should you or a loved one receive a stomach cancer diagnosis, it's essential to meet with a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist to make certain you get the expert treatment needed. Get in touch with a GI Alliance practice location near you for further details.
What is stomach cancer?
Your stomach is an essential organ in the upper abdominal region and is where the foods you eat are held and digested. When cancer forms in the internal lining of the stomach, it is called stomach cancer or gastric cancer. Cancer can develop in any area of the stomach; however, among people in the United States, the disease is often found at the gastroesophageal junction, or the area where the esophagus joins the stomach. Stomach cancer has been on the decline among U.S. patients, but it's a major reason for cancer deaths across the globe.
What are the warning signs of gastric cancer?
Cancer of the stomach is slow growing and could take years to develop. Given that gastric cancer is not all that prevalent among individuals in the United States, there are no major medical organizations that suggest routine testing for patients with an average risk for gastric cancer. In the early stages, cancer of the stomach generally doesn't carry any signs or symptoms, but individuals who do experience symptoms often have:
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Persistent queasiness
- Decreased appetite
In the event you or someone you love experiences any one of these symptoms, it's important to get expert care from a digestive health specialist as soon as possible. Contact GI Alliance to consult a gastrointestinal specialist near you.
What are the risk factors associated with stomach cancer?
Certain patients have a higher probability of developing cancer of the stomach. In some instances, these risk factors include having an inherited condition, like Lynch syndrome. This particular condition also increases the risk of colorectal cancer, uterine cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Further factors that might elevate the risk of stomach cancer are as follows:
- Occupational exposure
- Previous stomach surgery
- Family history of gastric cancer
- Being over the age of 55
- Being male
- Alcohol use
If you have an elevated risk of developing gastric cancer, it's essential to consult a gastroenterologist to learn about undergoing routine stomach cancer screenings, such as an upper endoscopy. You can set up an upper endoscopy and speak with a gastrointestinal doctor by contacting GI Alliance.
What are the surgical procedures for gastric cancer?
Gastric cancer is generally addressed via a surgical procedure. When the malignant tissue has been excised, radiation therapy and chemotherapy could also be recommended to help decrease the chance of cancer recurrence. There are three primary surgical procedures for removing gastric cancer:
- Total gastrectomy: During this surgical procedure, the entire stomach and surrounding lymph nodes are completely removed, and a new stomach is recreated by the small bowel.
- Subtotal (or partial) gastrectomy: A portion of the stomach is taken out, and the surrounding areas are reconnected. Partial gastrectomy might also include removing surrounding lymph nodes or other tissue.
- Endoscopic mucosal resection: With this surgery, a flexible tube known as an endoscope is used to remove the cancerous area in the stomach.
Find gastric cancer treatment near you
In honor of November being Stomach Cancer Awareness Month, the team at GI Alliance wishes to help educate the public about this concerning health condition. If you or someone close to you could have or has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, know that expert care is close at hand. GI Alliance is a patient-centered group of gastroenterologists and a distinguished establishment in the name of digestive health. Get in touch with a GI Alliance office in your community for more information on how a GI specialist can help address your needs.