Although stomach cancer is about one-fourth as common as it was 70 years ago, 24,000 new cases are diagnosed annually in the United States. If caught early, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent.
But, unfortunately, symptoms rarely occur until the disease spreads throughout the stomach and to other organs. At this advanced stage, the cancer is no longer treatable, and the five-year survival rate is only three percent.
And, here comes the million-dollar question – how can you stop this stealthy, silent killer before it strikes you?
Well, we can help you with that problem – you should arm yourself with knowledge by learning the risk factors and the warning signs of stomach cancer.
Stomach cancer can be hard to detect because when the symptoms finally do occur, they are often so mild that the person ignores them, according to the American Cancer Society.
Hence, it might be late by the time you reach out to a doctor, especially because the symptoms might be managed with over the counter medication. Here Dr Meghal Sanghvi, Onco-surgeon from Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai, lists out some of the ff.
The following symptoms could indicate stomach cancer:
Symptoms or digestive problems that you should not ignore.
1. Heartburn or indigestion
Feeling queasy or having an acid reflux after a heavy meal is normal. An antacid can take care of it and give you relief in some time.
But if the symptoms persist beyond two to three months and come back almost after every meal, it is a sign of danger. It is better to go for a check up.
The reflux might be due to a tumour growing in the stomach. A stomach tumour secretes enzymes of its own that interfere with digestion.
2. Feeling full after a small meal
Your appetite can change for many reasons, but if you develop a sense of aversion towards food and feel full after eating a few morsels, don’t ignore this critical sign.
You better check with a physician to see if everything is okay. If there is a tumor growing inside your belly,
it can obstruct the food and prevent it from passing to the small intestine. It could also make you feel bloated.
3. Sudden unexplained weight loss
Inability to eat a proper meal, lack of nutrition and low appetite are obvious reasons for rapid weight loss.
But you might not suspect a tumor. However, if you experience weight loss along with symptoms of acidity and GERD, better go for a check-up and avoid self-diagnosis.
There are many sickness that can manifest the same symptoms so it is better to check with your doctor.
4. Nausea and vomiting
Typically, when you vomit, you bring up the contents of partially digested previous meals.
Frequent nausea, gag re flux and throwing up small chunks of food that you might have consumed just a few minutes back are warning signs of stomach cancer.
This may be because of a tumor that is obstructing the passage of food. If you often experience vomiting and nausea it is best to go to the doctor.
5. Feeling fatigued
Symptoms such as lack of appetite and re flux could lead to nutritional depletion and excessive weight loss along with low blood count.
Besides on having little energy for your body to run, it will also put a lot of stress on your body.
So if all this makes you so tired that you can’t even walk a mile without shortness of breathe, it is time to head to a doctor.
6. Low-grade fever
Fever is usually an outcome of an infection present in the body. With a malignancy growing in the stomach, it is possible that you will experience recurrent episodes of low-grade fever.
Fatigue and fever along with the other symptoms like heartburn should make you worry about your health real bad.
If you have recurring episodes of low grade fever it is best to consult a doctor immediately.
7. Pain in the abdomen
Severe pain in the abdomen with a hard lump that can be felt by pressing your abdomen must be investigated.
Always check your body for inconsistency, or lumps. Sometimes this lumps are nothing to worry about but it is also best for you to have those lumps checked.
If you feel any recurring pain or pain that cannot be tolerated, you should go to the doctor and stop self medicating, Most people would just drink some medicine on their own than to get them self checked.
8. Rectal bleeding
This could also be a tell tale sign of stomach cancer. In fact, blood in the stool is a sign that everything in and around your intestine isn’t fine.
Sometimes as the tumor grows it may press on the surrounding blood vessels penetrate them and cause bleeding. Some of the blood might be detected in the stool.
This can be attributed to other form of sickness such as rectal cancer, ulcer, internal bleeding but in any case you should really go to the doctor because everything is not fine when you have rectal bleeding.