November is National Stomach Cancer Awareness Month, raising awareness about stomach cancer is important all throughout the year, because awareness saves lives.
Awareness Month Goals
The goals of stomach cancer awareness are to:
- Raise awareness and support efforts to educate people about stomach cancer, including risk factors, prevention and early detection
- Recognize the need for additional funding and research into early diagnosis and treatment for stomach cancer
- Raise funds for stomach cancer research
- Encourage people and interested groups and organizations to observe and support Stomach Cancer Awareness Month through appropriate programs and activities to promote public awareness of, and potential treatments for, stomach cancer
- Empower everyone by uniting the caring power of people worldwide affected by stomach cancer
Stomach cancer takes place when cancerous cells begin to grow within the lining of the stomach, which is a disease that is also referred to as “gastric cancer”. Because the majority of people don’t show any early signs of stomach cancer, or symptoms that might cause them to visit a doctor, this type of cancer is difficult to diagnose.
Early on, stomach cancer may cause:
- Feeling bloated after you eat a meal
- Slight nausea
- Loss of appetite
Just having indigestion or heartburn after a meal doesn’t mean you have stomach cancer. But if you feel these symptoms a lot, talk to your doctor. He can see if you have other risk factors and test you to look for any problems.
As stomach tumors grow, you may have more serious symptoms, such as:
- Stomach pain
- Blood in your stool
- Weight loss for no reason
- Trouble swallowing
- Yellowish eyes or skin
- Swelling in your stomach
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Weakness or feeling tired
If you notice any of the above symptoms then it is important to speak to your doctor as quickly as possible.
The main treatments for stomach cancer are:
Can stomach cancer be prevented?
There is no sure way to prevent stomach cancer, but there are things you can do that could lower your risk.
The dramatic decline of stomach cancer in the past several decades is thought to be a result of people reducing many of the known dietary risk factors. This includes greater use of refrigeration for food storage rather than preserving foods by salting, pickling, and smoking. To help reduce your risk, avoid a diet that is high in smoked and pickled foods and salted meats and fish.
A diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables can also lower stomach cancer risk. Citrus fruits (such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit) may be especially helpful, but grapefruit and grapefruit juice can change the blood levels of certain drugs you take, so it’s important to discuss this with your health care team before adding grapefruit to your diet.
Often, stomach cancer goes undiagnosed until it has already spread to other parts of the body, making it significantly more difficult to treat. Of course, although spotting the early signs of stomach cancer can be incredibly difficult, it’s important to get as much knowledge as you can on the subject if you want to attempt to beat the disease.
Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power!