Increasing Awareness of Stomach Cancer This November

With the potential to arise nearly in any part of the body, cancer is a serious condition that results from the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. As reported by the American Cancer Society, approximately 26,000 new cases of gastric cancer arise every year. Gastric cancer, or stomach cancer, results in around 1.5% of new cases of cancer diagnosed in the United States. With November being designated as Gastric Cancer Awareness Month, San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates is committed to advising patients on the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer and how the disease might be addressed.

In the event you or someone you love is diagnosed with gastric cancer, our San Antonio, TX gastrointestinal (GI) specialists are ready to help. Get in touch with San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates today to find out more.

What is gastric cancer?

Located in the upper abdomen, your stomach is an essential organ where food is held and processed. If cancer cells form in the internal lining of any portion of the stomach, it is diagnosed as stomach cancer. Cancer can affect any part of the stomach. Among patients in the United States, however, the condition is most common at the gastroesophageal junction, which is where the esophagus meets the stomach. Stomach cancer rates have been falling in the United States, but the condition remains a major source of cancer death around the world.

What are the common signs of stomach cancer?

Cancer of the stomach may take more than a year or longer to arise. Since stomach cancer is not considered prevalent among individuals in the United States, there are no major medical groups that suggest routine testing for those who have an average risk for gastric cancer. In the early stages, stomach cancer may not display any symptoms, although patients who do have symptoms may notice:

  • Abdominal swelling

  • Heartburn

  • Diminished appetite

  • Frequent nausea

  • Abdominal pain

  • Unintentional weight loss

If you or a person you love have any of these symptoms, it is important to get specialized care from a San Antonio, TX gastroenterologist as soon as possible. Contact San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates to speak with a GI doctor as soon as possible.

What are the risk factors associated with stomach cancer?

Certain individuals are at an increased risk for cancer of the stomach. Such risk factors include having a genetic predisposition to certain conditions, such as Lynch syndrome, which also heightens the risk of uterine cancer, pancreatic cancer, and colorectal cancer. Other factors that can increase the risk of gastric cancer include the following:

  • Being over 55

  • Work-related exposure

  • Being male

  • Previous stomach surgery

  • Drinking alcohol

  • Family history of gastric cancer

  • Obesity

  • Use of tobacco products

Speak with a San Antonio, TX digestive health specialist to learn about getting periodic gastric cancer screenings, like an upper endoscopy, if have a higher risk of gastric cancer. You can set up an upper endoscopy and consult a gastrointestinal doctor by getting in touch with San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates.

Treatment options for stomach cancer

Gastric cancer is typically addressed via a surgical procedure. When the cancerous tissue has been removed, radiation treatment and chemotherapy might also be carried out to lessen the chance of the cancer reoccurring. Generally speaking, there are three predominant surgical approaches for removing malignant tissue in the stomach:

  • Total gastrectomy: The entire stomach and neighboring lymph nodes are completely removed, and a new stomach is recreated from part of the small intestine.

  • Partial (or subtotal) gastrectomy: With this surgical approach, a portion of the stomach is taken out, and the surrounding areas are reconnected. This type of gastrectomy could include removing nearby lymph nodes or other tissue as well.

  • Endoscopic mucosal resection: An endoscope is used to remove the cancerous tissue in the stomach.

Get care for gastric cancer in San Antonio, TX

Our team is dedicated to spreading awareness of stomach cancer throughout the month of November. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, skilled care is close by. San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates is a patient-centered group of GI physicians and a trusted establishment in the field of gastrointestinal health. Reach out to our office in San Antonio, TX today for more information on how a GI specialist can help address your health needs.