Elevating Stomach Cancer Awareness During the Month of November


Many Americans likely know at least one person who is diagnosed with or who has had some type of cancer. You might even be one of them. Even though a number of individuals are aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, skin cancer, or other common cancers, stomach cancer is one form that can occur quickly and quietly, and commonly isn’t noticed until the later stages. To raise awareness of this often silent disease, November is designated as Stomach Cancer Awareness Month.

Keep reading to find pertinent information you should know about stomach cancer so you can be aware of this disease and understand where to start if you ever find yourself battling this health concern. In the event you or a loved one has stomach cancer or are at greater risk, reach out to Arizona Digestive Health to request an appointment. Our team of gastroenterologists in Arizona can help you get the care you need.

What, exactly, is stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer, also referred to as gastric cancer, impacts the lives of nearly 30,000 people across the United States each year. The disease forms when the cells located in the stomach begin to grow out of control. Gastric cancer commonly develops over several years and initiates with pre-cancerous growths within the stomach lining. These developments frequently go unnoticed given that they don’t generally have any noticeable indications.

As assessing for stomach cancer is not as common as colon cancer, this disease can frequently go undiagnosed until it has progressed in size or spread. At this stage, individuals will likely start to notice signs or symptoms.

Are there common symptoms of stomach cancer?

As the condition progresses, there are a number of common gastric cancer symptoms that may occur. These may involve:

If you or someone you love has any of these stomach cancer symptoms, our skilled Arizona gastroenterologists can help. Please contact our team at Arizona Digestive Health to visit a skilled provider.

What are the risk factors for gastric cancer?

Per the American Cancer Society® (ACS), the average age of an individual diagnosed with stomach cancer is 68. Furthermore, around 6 out of 10 of those diagnosed are over the age of 65.

There are an array of additional factors that elevate a person's risk of getting gastric cancer beyond age, however. These include:

  • Previous stomach problems (such as stomach ulcers, reflux, polyps, or Menetrier disease)
  • Tobacco and alcohol use
  • Gender (more common among males)
  • Occupation (more common among individuals who are employed in the coal, metal, or rubber industries)
  • Ethnicity (more common among Native American, African American, Hispanic, and Pacific/Asian people)
  • Weight (more prevalent among obese or overweight individuals)
  • Location (more prevalent in those from Eastern Europe, East Asia, Central America, and South America)
  • Family history
  • Diet (more common in individuals who eat a high-sodium diet or a large quantity of processed foods)

How is gastric cancer treated?

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, our Arizona gastrointestinal doctors can develop a dynamic treatment plan to address the type, stage, and spread of the disease.

Some options our team may consider involve chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and more. Your doctor will also take your overall health, age, and additional information into account when creating your treatment approach.

Is it possible to avoid gastric cancer?

Though there is no fail-safe method to prevent the occurrence of gastric cancer, there are some things you can implement to lower the risks, such as:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Consuming a colorful diet filled with plenty of fresh fruits (especially citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons) and vegetables, limited processed or red meats, and whole grains
  • Exercising regularly

Raising awareness is the first step in stomach cancer prevention

At Arizona Digestive Health, we want to help you and your loved ones enjoy healthy, happy lives for as long as possible. While our team is devoted to addressing your treatment concerns, we are passionate about providing the essential information needed to potentially prevent certain digestive concerns and issues. Since Stomach Cancer Awareness Month is upon us, now is the ideal time to be proactive. Schedule an appointment with our Arizona gastroenterology specialists to find out your risk of gastric cancer and how you might take steps to protect your GI health.