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Stomach Cancer: 5 Things You Need To Know

Stomach cancer or gastric cancer begins when the cancer cells start forming the inner lining of the stomach. Click here to know more about stomach cancer.

Stomach Cancer: 5 Things You Need To Know

Stomach cancer does not show many symptoms in the early stages

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Men are more prone to stomach cancer than women
  2. Stomach cancer, in the initial stages, does not have many symptoms
  3. Tobacco consumption doubles your risk of stomach cancer

Stomach cancer or gastric cancer begins when the cancer cells start forming the inner lining of the stomach. These cells take years and years to grow into a tumor. Although, stomach cancer is a rare occurrence, it happens to be one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the world. This disease requires early diagnosis for treatment. However, in most cases, stomach cancer does not show many symptoms in the early stages. And to make matters worse, it is a disease which is both difficult to diagnose and to treat. As a result, most patients succumb to this disease. Men are more prone to stomach cancer than women. But besides these, there are some more things about stomach cancer which you must be aware of.

Also read: Top 5 Home Remedies For Relief From Stomach Ache, #5 Is Unheard Of!

Here's a list of 5 things you MUST know about stomach cancer (gastric cancer). Keep reading...

1. What are the risk factors of stomach cancer?


Experts are not very sure of the causes of stomach cancer, but there are some risk factors associated with this disease. They are:

  • Bacterial infection causing ulcers in the stomach
  • Gastritis, inflammation of the gut
  • Long lasting anemia
  • Growth of polyps in the stomach
  • Chronic stomach inflammation
  • Eating a diet high in salt, and low in fruits and vegetables
  • Smoking
  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Stomach surgery
  • Working in a coal, metal or timber industry
 
smokingStomach cancer: Smoking doubles the risk of stomach cancer
 

Also read: How can my gastric problem be treated?​

2. What are the symptoms of stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer, in the initial stages, does not have many symptoms. However, some of the symptoms it shows are similar to other health conditions which may not be very serious. Symptoms of stomach cancer may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating after completing a meal
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea

These symptoms, however, may not conclusively point towards stomach cancer. They can refer to other health conditions as well. You can check with your doctor to see what exactly it is.

Also read: Why do I have a poor appetite?

Some more serious symptoms of stomach cancer include:

  • Vomiting
  • Stomach aches
  • Blood in stool
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swelling in the stomach
Also read: Is swelling in my abdomen due to a stomach problem?

3. How is stomach cancer diagnosed?

If you have been experiencing the symptoms for a long time, you must get it diagnosed. To begin with, your doctor may conduct a physical exam and discuss family history. After this, an endoscopy, biopsy, CT scan and barium swallow test will be done. A fecal blood test may also be conducted on you.

 
stomachStomach cancer: Swelling in the stomach is a symptom
Photo Credit: iStock

4. Is stomach cancer genetic?

Your risk of gastric cancer increases when one or more close family members or relatives are diagnosed with stomach cancer. Your risk also increases when a family member contracts a hereditary form of colon cancer like Lynch Syndrome.

Also read: Is my daughter on the right treatment for stomach ache?

5. Can I prevent stomach cancer?

You can prevent stomach cancer in the first place by keeping the following tips in mind.

  • If you have stomach ulcers due to infection, use antibiotics to treat the ulcers. Also, use some medicinal drugs which can heal the inner lining of your stomach, thereby cutting your risk of cancer.
  • Eat healthy food like fruits and vegetables. Add more fiber and nutrition to your plate. Besides this, avoid salty, picked, and smoked foods.
  • Keep your body weight in check. Obesity is a contributing factor for stomach cancer.
  • Avoid smoking as much as possible. If you are into this habit, quit as soon as possible. Tobacco consumption doubles your risk of stomach cancer.
  • Be careful while using heart and arthritis medications. Ask your doctor how it can impact your stomach and figure out some safer methods of using these medicines.
Also read: Can chronic constipation be an onset for colon cancer?​

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information. 
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