Stomach cancer symptoms can lack specificity in the early course of the disease. This may cause the patient to ignore these vague symptoms till the disease becomes advanced which will then present with more obvious symptoms.
As its name suggests, stomach cancer is a neoplastic cancerous growth involving part or the whole of the stomach. The image below illustrates the 4 divisions of the stomach: Fundus, Body, Antrum, Pyloris.
Risk factors that increases likelihood of stomach cancer:
1. Factors related to nutrition: - Salted meat or fish. - High complex-carbohydrate ingestion. - Low fat or protein ingestion.
2. Helicobacter pylori infection.
4. Male gender.
5. Previous gastric surgery.
Symptoms of stomach cancer: As mentioned above, the diagnosis of stomach cancer is usually delayed due to the delay in seeking medical attention because of mild and vague symptoms which include: - Dyspepsia (or indigestion, discomfort in the upper abdomen, painful digestion). - Anorexia, asthenia, anemia, weight loss. - Epigastric mass.
These symptoms rarely get proper attention which causes further delay in making the diagnosis. However, in late cases a patient may present with signs of metastasis (spread of cancer) to the liver and lymph nodes (especially the left supraclavicular lymph node).
If detected early stomach cancer can be a curable disease. Treatment at this stage will mainly depend on removal of the stomach (or part of it) that contains the malignant growth.
Take care: Dyspepsia occuring in any individual above 40 years old should be taken seriously especially if medications are not effective enough to relief it. Investigations must be done thoroughly to exclude the presence of stomach cancer.
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