Gastric cancer is a malignant tumor of the stomach, most commonly digestive cancer worldwide, after colon and pancreatic cancer. In Romania, gastric cancer is the second most frequent digestive cancer after colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, many times, the disease is discovered in late stages when doctors can not save the patient's life. Therefore, it is essential to know the risk factors but also the symptoms of the disease.
Here are the main risk factors for gastric cancer:
Helicobacter pylori infection. It is an infection that leads to the appearance of gastric ulcer, duodenal, but more serious is that it leads to the appearance of gastric cancer. The good news is, however, that it is very easy to diagnose this infection today. Basically, the presence of bacteria in antibodies in the blood or stomach can be easily identified with non-invasive and inexpensive tests. Treatment involves a cure of antibiotics that will reduce the risk of the disease. The treatment is prescribed after investigations by the gastroenterologist.
The unhealthy diet. In other words, nutrition that abounds in fat, protein, red meat or smoked foods, sausages, rich in nitrites and nitrates, but poor in fruits, vegetables and vitamins is unanimously recognized as a predisposition for the genesis of digestive cancers. However, a more natural, healthier, balanced, hipocaloric diet is a protective element for all types of digestive cancers, doctors say.
Gastric ulcer. Individuals who have had, for example, a stomach resection surgery present an additional risk for 10-15 years from this intervention for gastric cancer due to changes induced by the digestive juice circuit disorder. Therefore, these patients must regularly come to check, annually to do an endoscopy that may indicate a worsening of their health.
Genetic heritage. When one or more family members have been diagnosed with stomach cancer, it is the case that the other direct relatives perform an endoscopic check after the age of 50 years. In this case, the risk of developing gastric cancer is three times the risk of people who do not have gastric cancer in the family.
Physicians warn of the importance of periodic control, analyzes, digestive endoscopy. Especially when there are symptoms, although they feel their presence in already advanced stages of the disease.
Here are the signs and symptoms of this type of cancer:
- epigastric discomfort,
- changing appetite,
- fatigue states,
- rarely pain in the epigastric area,
- nausea, vomiting,
- unexplained weight loss,
- ulcer specific pain,
- pain – although pain occurs in the advanced stage of the disease
At first symptoms, the patient should go to the gastroenterologist. It will perform an endoscopy, which involves the introduction of a flexible oral tube that will allow the stomach to be visualized. The procedure is done with mild sedation and takes only a few minutes, during which the doctor can tell if there is any suspect area that requires biopsy and anatomo-pathological analysis. If necessary, it will indicate other investigations such as ultrasound or tomography to see tumor enlargement, nodule or metastasis appearance. Following procedures, the doctor will determine whether it is an early gastric cancer or advanced gastric cancer and can recommend an appropriate therapeutic attitude. Discovered in small stages, when there are small tumors, the results from the treatment are good.