Be Aware of Stomach Cancer

Be Aware of Stomach Cancer

Stomach Cancer Awareness Month is observed in November. Stomach cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide and the third leading cause of cancer-related death. Stomach cancer is one of the most lethal malignant tumours.

Cause

Infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria increases the risk of this cancer. Apart from this, salty foods, smoked or processed foods, foods containing nitrates, nitrites, and secondary amines, alcohol consumption, and tobacco use are considered as causes of stomach cancer.

Age over 60; obesity; Approximately 20 years after partial gastrectomy for ulcer disease; chronic gastritis or inflammation of the stomach; who have a family history of stomach cancer (such as parents, siblings, or children); familial cancer syndromes, such as familial adenomatous polyposis; Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer and hereditary diffuse gastric cancer; genetic modification; Epstein-Barr virus infection; pernicious anemia; People with gastroesophageal reflux disease and A blood group are at higher risk.

Metal workers, miners, rubber workers, as well as people who work with wood or asbestos, are at higher risk.

Exposure to very high levels of radiation also increases the risk of stomach cancer.

Symptoms


Early-stage stomach cancer usually has no symptoms and is difficult to detect. Symptoms usually begin after the cancer has spread. Symptoms that may appear in the early stages—indigestion and stomach discomfort; stomach bloating after eating; nausea; loss of appetite; heartburn, etc. In more advanced stages, other symptoms may appear along with the initial symptoms.

These include passing blood in the stool or black stools; vomiting; weight loss; stomach ache; jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin); and accumulation of water in the stomach.

Treatment


Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer. Depending on the condition, surgery (surgical removal of part or all of the stomach depending on the location of the tumour), chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and targeted drug therapy are given. Typically, doctors administer chemotherapy after surgery. Sometimes, chemotherapy is administered before surgery.


What should I do?


Since it is a bad type of cancer, awareness of prevention is more important. What to do in this regard is to avoid smoking; eradication of H. pylori infection if present; positive changes in eating habits; keeping weight under control; exercising regularly; and avoiding alcohol. Do not take aspirin or other NSAID-like drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, without advice.

Dr. Md. Ekramul Haque Zoardar, Cancer Surgery Specialist, National Cancer Research Institute and Hospital, Mohakhali, Dhaka

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