The most recent statistics from the National Cancer Center in Singapore show that stomach cancer is the 7th most common cancer among men, and the 9th most common cancer among women in the country. The disease is usually diagnosed in people between the ages of 50 and 70. Research shows that its causes include gastric infections, unhealthy diets, smoking, and genetics. The illness can be cured, provided that it’s diagnosed during its early stages.
Here’s a quick overview of the most common symptoms of stomach cancer:
- nausea or vomiting
- stomach pain which gets worse after eating a meal
- frequent heartburn
- excessive fatigue
- loss of appetite
- yellowish discoloration in the eyes or skin
- constant bloating
- blood in the stool
- feeling full even after eating a small amount of food 1
- difficulty in swallowing food
The Different Methods In Treating Stomach Cancer
- Surgery – Most doctors recommend this procedure especially for patients who have advanced stages of stomach cancer. It usually involves removing the sections of your stomach that have been invaded by cancer cells. In some cases, the entirety of the stomach needs to be removed.
- Chemotherapy – The main objective of chemotherapy is to kill the cancer cells or stop them from growing. You can either take the drugs as pills or through an IV. Chemotherapy often takes several weeks or even months, depending on the extent of the cancer cells in the patient’s stomach.
- Radiation therapy – Some patients prefer this option because it’s non-invasive. An x-ray machine is used to blast high-energy waves that has the strength to kill cancer cells, as well as to shrink tumors.
- Chemoradiation – This treatment procedure combines the efficacy of radiation and chemotherapy. It’s usually done to shrink the tumor in the stomach before a surgery is performed.
- Targeted drugs – These are drugs that have been designed to fight only cancer cells. Unlike radiation and chemotherapy that kills both healthy and cancer cells, targeted drugs focus on destroying cancer cells only. This means that the surrounding healthy cells won’t be affected.
Stomach cancer is a serious illness that can be fatal if it remains unchecked. That said, if you are more susceptible to the disease due to genetics, it’s advisable that you undergo regular checkups to determine if there are signs of tumor growth in your stomach. Additionally, you should avoid unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, and eating too much processed food.