As with many cancers, scientists can’t confirm why some people develop stomach cancer. But as the risk of being diagnosed with stomach cancer increases significantly for those over the age of 55, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of this disease. Similarly, knowing whether or not you have added risk factors for being diagnosed with stomach cancer is of equal importance.
Stomach cancer occurs when cancerous cells form in the lining of the stomach. According to the World Health Organization, stomach cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide, but holds a higher spot when it comes to cancer-related deaths, ranking third overall.
Unfortunately, stomach cancer is also difficult to diagnose as symptoms don’t tend to appear until the disease is quite advanced. However, the following symptoms are considered early warnings of stomach cancer:
- Stomach aches and pain in the breastbone area
- Frequent burping
- A sensation of being very full or feeling full quickly during meals
- Trapped wind
- Swallowing difficulties
- Persistent indigestion
- Feeling bloated after meals
It is recommended that you see a doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing the symptoms listed above. Once stomach cancer reaches the advanced stages, additional symptoms may be noted such as weight loss, loss of appetite, lumpiness in the stomach area or blood in your stool.
Are You At Risk?
Men have twice the risk of being diagnosed with stomach cancer compared to women. Smokers, people with a high salt diet, as well as those with pre-existing stomach conditions or having been diagnosed with any other cancer are also at greater risk. Individuals with type A blood are also more prone to developing stomach cancer.
While some people may be at greater risk to develop stomach cancer, it is unclear why some cells become cancerous and produce in an uncontrollable way and why this only occurs in certain people. Stomach cancer can grow over several years but not produce any strong symptoms until it has become quite advanced or has spread to other parts of the body.
If you are diagnosed with stomach cancer, treatment recommendations will vary based on your health and on how advanced the cancer is. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and medication are the main forms of treatment, although your doctor may also have some clinical trials they can suggest.
Managing Your Diagnosis
Regardless of what type of treatment is recommended, be prepared to put a plan in place to support your recovery and the reality of chronic disease management. Options for support include a live in caregiver or assistance from a home healthcare provider who has experience in providing nurse at home or personal support at home services. Taking the time to plan and organize your support system before you begin treatment can alleviate a lot of stress and worry.
iCare Home Health Services provides supportive home health care in the Burlington and Oakville areas. Our committed professionals are dedicated to providing quality of life through our services. Call us today at 905-491-6941 to find out more about what we can offer your family.