Increasing Awareness of Gastric Cancer During the Month of November


Stemming from the uncontrolled and abnormal growth of cells, cancer is a serious condition that can develop in almost any part of the body. With November being the dedicated Stomach Cancer Awareness Month, Arizona Digestive Health is committed to informing patients about the symptoms of gastric cancer and how the disease might be addressed. Nearly 26,000 new stomach cancer cases arise annually, according to the American Cancer Society. Gastric cancer, also referred to as stomach cancer, leads to about 1.5% of new cases of cancer diagnosed in the United States.

If you or someone you love receives a stomach cancer diagnosis, it's essential to seek out a gastrointestinal (GI) doctor to ensure you have access to the expert treatment needed. Talk with our team at Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, AZ to learn more.

What is gastric cancer?

Your stomach is positioned in the upper abdominal area where the foods you eat are stored and processed. If cancer occurs in the internal lining of any portion of the stomach, it is called stomach cancer or gastric cancer. Cancer can impact any part of the stomach. Among U.S. patients, however, the condition is most commonly found at the gastroesophageal junction, or the location where the esophagus connects with the stomach. Stomach cancer rates have been dropping in the United States, but the condition is still a leading cause of cancer death around the world.

The signs and symptoms of stomach cancer

Cancer of the stomach is slow growing and can take years to develop. Since gastric cancer is not all that prevalent among people across the nation, there are no major healthcare groups that suggest periodic assessments for those who have an average risk. Early stomach cancer may not produce any obvious symptoms, though individuals who do report signs or symptoms will likely notice one or more of the following:

  • Frequent nausea

  • Decreased appetite

  • Swollen abdomen

  • Acid reflux

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Abdominal pain

In the event you or a loved one notices any of these signs or symptoms, it is vital to receive specialized care from a Phoenix, AZ digestive health specialist as early as possible. We encourage you to contact Arizona Digestive Health to talk with a GI doctor.

What are some stomach cancer risk factors?

Certain individuals have a greater chance of developing gastric cancer. These risk factors include having an inherited condition, such as Lynch syndrome. This particular condition also elevates the chance of developing pancreatic cancer, uterine cancer, and colorectal cancer. Other risk factors that may increase the risk of gastric cancer are:

  • Being a smoker

  • Previous stomach surgery

  • Family history of gastric cancer

  • Being of the male gender

  • Occupational exposure

  • Alcohol use

  • Being over 55 years of age

  • Obesity

Talk to a Phoenix, AZ gastrointestinal doctor about getting routine screenings for gastric cancer, such as an upper endoscopy, in the event you are at a greater chance of stomach cancer. You can set up an upper endoscopy and speak with a gastrointestinal doctor by getting in touch with Arizona Digestive Health.

Treatment options for gastric cancer

Gastric cancer is often treated with a surgical approach. Once the malignant tissue has been removed from the stomach, radiation therapy and chemotherapy could also be utilized to reduce the likelihood of cancer recurrence. Generally speaking, there are three primary surgeries for removing malignant tissue in the stomach:

  • Partial (or subtotal) gastrectomy: With this gastric cancer surgery, part of the stomach is taken out, and the surrounding sections are reattached. Partial gastrectomy could also include excising nearby lymph nodes or other tissue.

  • Total gastrectomy: The whole stomach and nearby lymph nodes are taken out, and a new stomach is rebuilt from a portion of the small intestine.

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopic mucosal resection: With this procedure, an endoscope is used to take out the cancerous tissue within the stomach.

Get treatment for gastric cancer in Phoenix, AZ

In honor of Stomach Cancer Awareness Month, we encourage you to learn more about the signs and symptoms of gastric cancer. Should you or someone you love develop stomach cancer, please know that professional care is close at hand. Arizona Digestive Health is a patient-centric group of digestive health specialists and a distinguished practice in the world of gastrointestinal health. Call our facility in Phoenix, AZ today for more information on how a GI specialist can help meet your needs.