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Early Detection Saves Lives: Importance Of Stomach Cancer Screening

Early Detection Saves Lives: Importance Of Stomach Cancer Screening
Gastric cancer kicks off in the stomach lining.

Stomach cancer awareness month: Understanding stomach cancer and screening implications

Written by Tavishi Dogra |Updated : November 29, 2023 3:01 PM IST

Stomach Cancer Awareness Month 2023: In 2020, gastric or stomach cancer ranked as the fourth most prevalent cancer globally and as the fifth most common type of cancer overall. Gastric cancer, often known as stomach cancer, begins in the stomach lining. Gastric cancer frequently manifests as upper abdominal pain, bloating, loss of appetite, early satiety, vomiting, weight loss, and blood in the stools. The following are risk factors for stomach cancers: alcohol use, smoking, H pylori infection, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Although screening is an excellent way to find cancer early on before symptoms appear, there are currently no standard screening tests available for stomach cancer. However, screening may be beneficial for some individuals who are more likely to acquire stomach cancer. The main methods for screening gastric cancers are endoscopy and CT scan.

Endoscopy

Also known as gastroscopy, it is a medical treatment that enables a physician to view the stomach lining. In certain nations, such as Korea and Japan, where stomach cancer is highly prevalent, universal or population-based screening has been put into place. Japanese screening recommendations recommend endoscopic screening for those 50 or older every two to three years. Numerous studies have demonstrated that endoscopic screening reduces the death rate from gastric cancer by thirty per cent when compared to no screening. Unfortunately, nationwide endoscopic screening campaigns cannot be implemented in a country like India, which has a population of more than 130 crore. Choosing screening for high-risk populations could aid in the early detection of cancer. Additionally, those with a history of gastric polyps, gastric intestinal metaplasia, or any family history of gastric cancer are included in these high-risk groupings.

Some Common Symptoms Are:

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Dr Nikhil Ghadyalpatil, Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist & Hemato-Oncologist, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad,says that people should be aware of the symptoms of stomach cancer and should see a doctor if they suspect they may have the disease because early detection of the disorder may lead to a patient's potential recovery. However, early detection of gastric cancer is made more difficult because many of its signs and symptoms might be mistaken for those of other illnesses, including viral infections, ulcers, and other cancers.

Among these symptoms and indicators are:

  1. Insufficient appetite
  2. Inadvertent reduction of body mass
  3. Stomach ache
  4. Abdominal discomfort, generally above the navel
  5. Having simply a modest supper and feeling satisfied
  6. Indigestion or heartburn
  7. Emesis
  8. Throwing up, with or without blood
  9. Abdominal swelling or fluid accumulation
  10. Stool containing blood
  11. Anaemia (low red blood cell count associated with fatigue or weakness)
  12. Should the cancer progress to the liver, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) may occur.

Conclusion

Several tests are used to diagnose stomach cancer. The symptoms, medical history, and outcomes of prior tests all play a role in the diagnostic process. Because stomach cancers grow slowly, a person may not experience symptoms for years. Furthermore, many stomach cancer patients wait until the illness has progressed before receiving a diagnosis. Regular check-ups are therefore crucial.