Even though stomach cancer is about ¼ as common as it was 70 years ago, there are 24,000 new cases which are diagnosed annually in the United States. If it’s caught early, the five-year survival rate is 90%, yet, unfortunately, symptoms rarely occur until the disease spreads through the stomach and to some other organs. When it comes in this advanced stage, the cancer is no longer treatable, and the five-year survival rate is only 3%.
So, here is the million-dollar question – how can you stop this silent killer before it strikes you? We can help you with that problem – you need to arm yourself with knowledge by learning all the risk factors and the warning signs of stomach cancer. This type of cancer can be hard to detect as when the symptoms finally do occur, very often they are so mild that the person ignores them.
According to the American Cancer Society, these symptoms could indicate stomach cancer:
- discomfort or pain in the abdomen
- indigestion or heartburn
- vomiting and nausea
- constipation or diarrhea
- weakness and fatigue
- bloating of the stomach after meals
- loss of appetite
- bleeding (having blood in the stool or vomiting blood)
The most common factors that might increase the risk for developing stomach cancer are:
- gender (males are 2/3 more likely than women)
- age (over 55 years)
- diet high in foods that are salted, smoked, dried, or pickled
- alcohol abuse and smoking
- family history
- previous stomach surgery
- presence in stomach of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, which may cause ulcers
Note: You have to be very careful and if you suffer from some the warning signs of stomach cancer or are worried about your risk, you should talk to your doctor. He or she possibly will refer you to a gastroenterologist (specialist in digestive disorders) for further evaluation.