November is National Stomach Cancer Awareness Month. In the United States stomach cancer is the seventh most common cause of death from cancer. There are several different types of stomach cancer, including gastric adenocarcinoma, lymphomas, and leiomyosarcomas. The most common type of stomach cancer accounting for about 95 percent of all stomach cancer cases is gastric adenocarcinoma. Gastric adenocarcinoma is when cancer cells develop from the gland cells in the innermost lining of the stomach. It is important to know the symptoms, causes, risk factors, and treatment of stomach cancer to ensure if one develops stomach cancer early detection is possible. The month of November is dedicated to raising awareness to educate people about stomach cancer.
Stomach Cancer Symptoms
In the early stages of stomach cancer symptoms can be difficult to diagnose. It is important to talk to a doctor right away if any of the symptoms below occur. Many times, a person with stomach cancer may experience no symptoms. The symptoms below can be the cause of many other things as well as stomach cancer, therefore it is incredibly important for someone to talk to a doctor if any of these symptoms arise and persist.
Weight loss (without trying)
Vague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
Feeling full after eating only a small meal
Heartburn or indigestion
Vomiting, with or without blood
Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen
Blood in the stool
Feeling tired or weak, as a result of having too few red blood cells (anemia)
Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), if the cancer spreads to the liver
Stomach Cancer Causes and Risk Factors
There is no clear cause of stomach cancer. Research had identified many risk factors that may increase the risk of someone getting stomach cancer. Risk factors include:
Gastroesophageal reflux disease
A diet high in salty and smoked foods
A diet low in fruits and vegetables
Family history of stomach cancer
Infection with Helicobacter pylori
Long-term stomach inflammation (gastritis)
Stomach Cancer Treatment
Stomach cancer can be diagnosed by different procedures, including an endoscopy, examination of cells from concerned areas, and double contrast x-ray techniques. The earlier stomach cancer is detected, the higher chance of survival from treatment. Treatment can include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Celebrate Stomach Cancer Awareness Month
Raise awareness by educating yourself or others about stomach cancer.
Support funding and research for the treatment and cure of stomach cancer.
Attend or organize a fundraising event.
Spread awareness on social media of people’s stories affected by stomach cancer.
1. The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team. “Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Cancer: Gastric Cancer Warning Signs.” American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society, Inc, 22 Jan. 2021, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/stomach-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-symptoms.html.
2. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Stomach Cancer.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 27 Apr. 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stomach-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20352438.
3. “Stomach Cancer Awareness Month.” No Stomach for Cancer, No Stomach For Cancer, 11 Oct. 2021, https://nostomachforcancer.org/get-involved/stomach-cancer-awareness-month/.
4. “Stomach Cancer.” Cedars-Sinai, The StayWell Company, LLC, https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/s/stomach-cancer.html.