Stomach cancer is known as one of the most common cancers worldwide. Among the factors that cause stomach cancer, wrong eating habits and smoking are in the first place. In order to stay away from stomach cancer, it is of great importance to be conscious and careful, to avoid risk factors and not to neglect regular screenings. Memorial Health Group Medstar Antalya Hospital General Surgery Department Prof. Dr. İsmail Gömceli gave information about stomach cancer and the precautions that can be taken at the “December 01-31 Gastric Cancer Awareness Month”.
Stomach cancer progresses insidiously
Stomach cancers tend to develop slowly over many years. Before cancer develops, precancerous changes often occur in the lining of the stomach, namely its mucosa. These early changes rarely cause complaints and are usually not noticed. As the cancer develops, it moves deeper into the stomach wall. The tumor may grow to include nearby organs such as the liver and pancreas. Cancers that start in different parts of the stomach can cause different complaints and have different results. The location of the cancer can also affect treatment options. For example, cancers that start at the junction of the esophagus and stomach are often treated similarly to cancers of the esophagus.
The factors that cause stomach cancer are:
The main cause of stomach cancer is genetic changes that cause cells on the stomach surface to grow rapidly and eventually form a tumor. Risk factors that may increase a person's risk of developing stomach cancer include:
- Male gender
- family history of stomach cancer
- To smoke
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria infection
- Dietary habits with high salt content
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables
- reflux disease
Pay attention to these signs that may be a sign of stomach cancer!
- Nausea and vomiting
- difficulty swallowing
- Painful burning sensation in the chest
- Weight loss
- Vomiting blood (in advanced stages)
- It is necessary to find out how much of the stomach wall covers
Several different tests can be used to help diagnose stomach cancer. Radiological tests such as CT and Magnetic Resonance imaging can help determine if the tumor in the stomach is large enough. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is used to diagnose or detect early cancer before a mass is large enough to be seen on radiological tests. In this method, which also provides biopsy from the tumor, examination is performed by entering the stomach through the mouth with a thin camera. A special type of endoscope, 'endoscopic ultrasound' or PET/CT examination, can be used to find out how much of a tumor has covered the stomach wall and to help assess the 'stage' of the cancer.
Treatment is planned according to the location of the tumor
There are several approaches to treating stomach cancer. If there is an early stage gastric cancer, the tumor can be removed with the "endoscopic submucosal dissection" method through upper endoscopy. When the tumor has grown beyond the superficial layers of the stomach, surgery is performed to remove all or part of the stomach containing the tumor. Apart from this, radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments are other treatment methods in which radiation beams and drugs are used to kill tumor cells. Today; Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are complementary components of gastric cancer treatment.
Watch out for these to prevent stomach cancer;
- Stomach cancer can be prevented or the risk of cancer can be minimized with the following practices.
- To adopt a healthy diet habit rich in fruits and vegetables, low in salt and red meat.
- Maintaining a healthy weight and acquiring regular exercise habits.
- Not to smoke and not to be in smoking environments.
- Having regular screening tests if there is a family history of cancer.