What is Stomach Cancer?
Stomach cancer is characterised by abnormal cell growth that begins in the stomach. The stomach is a muscular sac in the upper middle of the abdomen, just below the ribs. Your stomach receives and holds the food you eat before breaking it down and digesting it.
Stomach cancer also referred to as gastric cancer, can develop anywhere in the stomach. Most stomach cancers develop in the main part of the stomach in the majority of the world (stomach body).
Among the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer are:
– Having a bloated feeling after eating
– Feeling satiated after consuming small amounts of food
– stomach ache
– Weight loss that was unintentional
It’s unclear what causes stomach cancer, but research has identified a number of risk factors.
Doctors know that stomach cancer starts when a cell in the stomach’s DNA changes. A cell’s DNA contains the instructions that tell the cell what to do. The changes instruct the cell to grow quickly and to live when healthy cells would die. Cells clump together to form a tumour, which can invade and destroy healthy tissue. Cells can break off and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body over time.
You can lower your risk of stomach cancer by doing the following:
Keep a healthy weight – If you’re overweight or obese, talk to your doctor about weight-loss strategies. Aim for a weekly weight loss of one or two pounds.
Consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables – Try to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet on a daily basis. Choose a variety of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables.
Reduce your intake of salty and smoked foods – Limit these foods to protect your stomach.
Quit smoking – Quit smoking if you smoke. Don’t start smoking if you don’t already. Smoking raises your chances of developing stomach cancer, as well as many other types of cancer. Quitting smoking can be difficult, so seek advice from your doctor.
Inquire with your doctor about your risk of stomach cancer – Consult your doctor if you have a family history of stomach cancer. People with a strong family history of stomach cancer may want to consider tests like endoscopy to look for signs of the disease.