As with most
cancers, stomach cancer usually does not produces any early symptoms. However, you may
suffer from mild indigestion or loss of weight and appetite. Eventually the symptoms will
be more noticeable. Warning signs of stomach cancer may include:
heartburn, abdominal pain, or discomfort aggravated by eating.
loss of appetite and a
bloated feeling after eating small amounts.
either diarrhoea or constipation, nausea and vomiting after meals.
general weakness and
dark patches in stool, or
blood on stool.
Most stomach cancers start
in tissue lining the stomach. A tumour can either spread around the stomach wall or may
grow through it and disperse cells into the bloodstream or lymphatic system.
Once the cancer invades
other organs or areas in the body it is particularly difficult to treat and the outlook is
usually grim. If treated before it spreads, stomach cancer is curable.
Quite often, stomach cancer
develops at the site of an existing stomach ulcer, although ulcers do not usually cause
the disease. While some stomach ulcers turn cancerous, most do not. For stomach cancer to
start, something has to make normal cells mutate, or reproduce abnormally. (See the entry
Dietary factors are said to
be a major cause of this type of cancer. The disease is prevalent among people who
frequently eat smoked, pickled, salted, and barbecued foods, all of which contain nitrites
or other nitrogen compounds which are said to promote cancer.
Smoking tobacco and
drinking alcohol may slightly increase the risk of stomach cancer. But these two
indulgences are partly to blame for other cancers
Worldwide, stomach cancer
is much higher among people who work in mines and metal refineries, who inhale certain
dust and fumes that contain known carcinogens.
If caught early, stomach
cancer is treated surgically. Part or all of the stomach may be removed, along with any
surrounding tissue and nearby lymph nodes.
Patients can have their
whole stomach removed and if so will need extra
Most cases of stomach
cancer are too advanced when finally diagnosed to be cured surgically, but radiation and
chemotherapy can often relieve symptoms, slow the disease, and possibly prolong life.
Patients with severe
stomach cancer typically experience a great deal of pain. Medication can offer partial
relief but there is some other therapies which may also help.
You may wish to investigate
acupuncture or activities that promote relaxation such as yoga, massage, or meditation and
visualisation. (See Cancer.)
Following stomach surgery,
people often experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, or dizziness after eating. The
symptoms usually go away in a few months, but they can be reduced if you eat small meals
of soft or semiliquid foods not large meals. Also do not eat sweets, and try not to drink
liquids with meals.
Studies suggest that
drinking green tea and eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and garlic may help protect against stomach cancer.
To prevent this illness it
is best to cut out all smoked, pickled, salted, and barbecued foods.
When to seek further