Learn More About Stomach Cancer Awareness This November
Many people likely know someone who is diagnosed with or who has experienced some type of cancer. You might even be impacted by this condition. Though many individuals are familiar with the symptoms of skin cancer, or other common types of cancer, stomach cancer is one form that can come about silently and quickly, and commonly isn’t diagnosed until the more advanced stages. In an effort to call attention to this often silent but serious health concern, November is denoted as Stomach Cancer Awareness Month.
Read on to learn more about stomach cancer so you might increase your awareness of this condition and know what to do if you happen to find yourself facing it. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with stomach cancer or are at an elevated risk, please get in touch with Colorado Gastroenterology to request an appointment. Our group of experienced gastroenterologists in Denver, CO can help you get the care you need.
How does stomach cancer develop?
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, impacts the lives of about 30,000 individuals across the United States each year. It emerges when the cells present in the stomach begin to grow beyond control. Gastric cancer commonly develops over the course of several years and initiates with precancerous growths in the lining of the stomach. Such changes commonly occur without detection given that they don’t typically present any outward indications.
Since evaluating for gastric cancer is not conducted as commonly as colon cancer, this disease can often go undetected until the condition has advanced. At this stage, patients will likely begin to have signs or symptoms.
What are the signs of gastric cancer?
As the disease further develops, several common stomach cancer symptoms may occur. These may involve:
- Feeling full even after eating a small meal
- Heartburn symptoms/abdominal discomfort
- Fatigue or weakness
- Unintentional weight loss
- Decreased appetite
- Vomiting and/or nausea
- Bloody stool
In the event you or a loved one have any of these stomach cancer symptoms, our skilled Denver, CO gastroenterologists can help. Please contact our team at Colorado Gastroenterology to visit a provider.
Who is at risk of stomach cancer?
As indicated by the American Cancer Society® (ACS), the average age of someone diagnosed with stomach cancer is 68 — and about 6 out of 10 of those who receive a stomach cancer diagnosis are above the age of 65.
There are several additional things that can impact an individual's chance of having gastric cancer outside of age, including:
- Weight (more prevalent among overweight or obese people)
- Family history
- Previous stomach issues (such as stomach ulcers, polyps, reflux, or Menetrier disease)
- Diet (more prevalent in individuals who consume a high-salt diet or a lot of processed foods)
- Ethnicity (more common among Native American, African American, Hispanic, and Pacific/Asian people)
- Tobacco use and alcohol consumption
- Gender (more common among men)
- Occupation (more prevalent among those who are employed in the metal, rubber, or coal industries)
- Geographic location (more prevalent among those from South American, Central America, Eastern Europe, and East Asia)
How is stomach cancer treated?
In the event you or someone you love has been diagnosed with gastric cancer, our Denver, CO gastrointestinal (GI) doctors can develop an individualized gastric cancer treatment approach depending on the form, stage, and progression of the condition.
Treatment protocols your doctor may consider include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other services. Our team will also take your age, general health, and additional information into account when determining your treatment plan.
Is there a way to avoid stomach cancer?
Although there is no surefire way to prevent gastric cancer, there are a few things you can implement to minimize the risks, such as:
- Eating a balanced diet filled with fresh fruits (especially citrus, such as lemons and oranges) and vegetables, limited processed or red meats, and whole grains
- Avoiding tobacco use
- Getting regular exercise
- Maintaining a healthy weight
Raising awareness is the first step in preventing stomach cancer
At Colorado Gastroenterology, we aim to help the patients we treat live healthy, happy lives for as long as possible. Though our team is always here for your treatment needs, our team is passionate about providing the information required to possibly prevent certain digestive concerns and diseases. Since Stomach Cancer Awareness Month is in effect, now is the perfect time to take action. Schedule a visit with our Denver, CO digestive health team to determine your risk of gastric cancer and how you might take steps to safeguard your GI wellness.