What Is Stomach Cancer Awareness Month?

Many people likely know at least one person who is diagnosed with or who has had cancer. You may even be affected by this disease. Even though several individuals are aware of the indications of breast cancer, skin cancer, or other common cancers, stomach cancer can occur quickly and silently, and frequently isn’t noticed until it’s in the more advanced stages. In order to help bring awareness to this often silent disease, November has been named Stomach Cancer Awareness Month. 

Read on to discover important information you should know about stomach cancer so you can have a heightened awareness and know where to start should you happen to find yourself facing this disease. In the event, you or a loved one has stomach cancer or are at a higher risk, contact San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates to request a visit. Our team of gastroenterologists in San Antonio, TX can help you get the expert care you require. 

How does stomach cancer develop? 

Stomach cancer, or gastric cancer, affects the lives of around 30,000 people in the U.S. annually. The disease forms when the cells located in the stomach start to proliferate beyond control. It frequently develops over several years and initiates with pre-cancerous growths in the lining of the stomach. These changes can go undetected given that they don’t generally have any obvious symptoms. 

As evaluating for gastric cancer is not as common as colorectal cancer, it might frequently go unnoticed until it has metastasized or grown quite large. At this stage, patients will likely start to have symptoms. 

Are there common signs and symptoms of stomach cancer? 

As it further develops, there are some common stomach cancer signs and symptoms that may appear. These may involve:  

  • Heartburn/abdominal discomfort 
  • Weakness or exhaustion 
  • A feeling of fullness even after consuming a small amount of food 
  • Poor appetite 
  • Blood in the stool 
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Nausea and/or vomiting 

In the event you or someone you love notice any of these stomach cancer symptoms, our skilled San Antonio, TX gastrointestinal specialists can help. Please contact our team at San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates to visit a skilled provider. 

Am I at risk for developing stomach cancer? 

As indicated by the American Cancer Society®, the average age of someone diagnosed with stomach cancer is 68, and around six out of 10 of those who receive a stomach cancer diagnosis are older than 65 years of age. 

There are several other things that impact the risk of developing stomach cancer besides age, including:  

  • Occupation (more prevalent among people who work in the coal, metal, or rubber industries) 
  • Location (more common among those from Central America, South America, East Asia, and Eastern Europe) 
  • Family history 
  • Weight (more common among obese or overweight individuals) 
  • Tobacco and alcohol use 
  • Ethnicity (more common in Asian/Pacific, Native American, African American, and Hispanic individuals) 
  • History of stomach issues (such as acid reflux, polyps, stomach ulcers, or Menetrier disease) 
  • Diet (more prevalent among people who eat a high-salt diet or a large quantity of processed foods) 
  • Gender (more prevalent in males) 

How is gastric cancer treated? 

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, our San Antonio, TX gastrointestinal (GI) doctors can create an individualized treatment approach to address the type, stage, and spread. 

The treatment plans our team may recommend include radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and more. Our team will also take your general health, age, and other information into consideration when determining this treatment plan. 

Is there a way to avoid gastric cancer? 

While there is no fail-safe way to prevent stomach cancer, there are some things you can do to reduce the risks. These include:  

  • Staying at a healthy weight 
  • Not smoking 
  • Consuming a balanced diet containing fresh fruits (particularly citrus, like lemons and oranges) and veggies, whole grains, and limited processed or red meats 
  • Getting regular exercise 

Boosting awareness is the first step in stomach cancer prevention 

At San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates, we strive to help our patients live healthy, happy lives for as long as possible. Although our team is dedicated to addressing your treatment concerns, our providers are passionate about providing the information required to potentially prevent certain digestive concerns and issues. Since Stomach Cancer Awareness Month is in effect, now is the ideal time to be proactive. Request an appointment with our San Antonio, TX digestive health specialists to learn if you are at risk for gastric cancer and how you can take steps to protect your GI health.