Stomach cancer is fairly rare in the United States, but it can be common in other parts of the world. If you are concerned about stomach cancer, the first step is to learn all that you can about the disease. The staff at St. Anthony's Hospital is here to help you get the answers you need.
Stomach Cancer Risks and Symptoms: Get Educated
Stomach cancer is also known as gastric cancer. This disease usually begins in the cells of the stomach lining. Although risks for stomach cancer can vary, here are few to consider:
- Diet: If you eat a lot of salty or smoked foods, you are at greater risk for stomach cancer. Also, if your diet is low in fruits and vegetables, that creates further risk.
- Mold: Some foods are contaminated with aflatoxin, a substance that originates as fungi and grows on nuts, rice wheat, and other crops. These foods can also be used to feed livestock and affect them as well. If you are exposed to large amounts of aflatoxin, you could be at higher risk of stomach cancer.
- Gastritis: If you suffer from chronic stomach inflammation, you could have a higher chance of developing cancer.
- Smoking: Research has shown that smokers are at higher risk for stomach cancer than nonsmokers.
- Family history: If you have family members who have had stomach cancer, you could have an increased chance of developing the disease.
While there are no foolproof ways to avoid stomach cancer, there are some precautions you can take. Among them are these.
- Watch your diet: Try to reduce the amount of salty and smoked foods you consume. Instead eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Talk to your doctor: Tell you doctor if you have a family history of stomach cancer, and discuss any concerns you may have. If you suffer from gastritis, learn about effective treatment for it.
- Stop smoking: If you smoke, talk to your doctor about the best way to stop. And if you don't smoke, don't start!
The symptoms of stomach cancer may not always be obvious, and they may be mistaken for other conditions. However, here are some signs to watch out for:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- General fatigue
- Chronic heartburn or indigestion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Stomach pain
- Feeling bloated of full after eating small amounts
If you experience these symptoms, and especially a combination of them, don't hesitate to tell your doctor. He can run tests to determine what the underlying problems are.
For more information on stomach cancer care and screenings at St. Anthony’s Hospital Cancer Center, please call (727) 825-1253.
St. Anthony's Cancer Center
1201 5th Ave. N., Suite 130
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
Phone: (727) 825-1253
Fax: (727) 825-1332