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Explain Gastric Cancer: Risks, Symptoms, Treatment Options and Awareness

Explain Gastric Cancer | Risks, Symptoms, Treatment Options and Awareness

Gastric cancer, also known as stomach cancer, is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide. Gastric cancer develops when malignant cells form in the lining of the stomach. While the exact cause of gastric cancer is not fully understood, several factors have been identified as potential contributors to its development.

Here are the Causes of Gastric Cancer

Helicobacter pylori Infection

Chronic infection with Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that colonizes the stomach lining, is considered one of the primary risk factors for gastric cancer. This bacterium can lead to inflammation and damage to the stomach lining, increasing the risk of cancerous changes over time.

Dietary Factors

Consumption of a diet high in salted, smoked, or pickled foods, as well as processed meats and low intake of fruits and vegetables, has been linked to an increased risk of gastric cancer. These dietary patterns may contribute to inflammation and damage to the stomach lining, predisposing individuals to cancerous changes.

Genetic Predisposition

Individuals with a family history of gastric cancer or certain genetic mutations, such as mutations in the CDH1 gene associated with hereditary diffuse gastric cancer syndrome, may have an elevated risk of developing the disease.

Smoking and Alcohol Consumption

Tobacco smoking and excessive alcohol consumption have been identified as modifiable risk factors for gastric cancer. These habits can contribute to inflammation and damage to the stomach lining, increasing the likelihood of cancerous changes.

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Some Symptoms of Gastric Cancer

Persistent Indigestion or Heartburn: Chronic indigestion or heartburn that does not improve with over-the-counter medications may be a warning sign of gastric cancer, especially if accompanied by other symptoms.

Unexplained Weight Loss: Significant and unexplained weight loss, especially without changes in diet or physical activity, may indicate advanced gastric cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

Abdominal Pain or Discomfort: Persistent abdominal pain or discomfort, particularly in the upper abdomen, may be a symptom of gastric cancer, especially if it worsens after eating or with certain foods.

Nausea and Vomiting: Recurrent nausea and vomiting, especially if accompanied by blood or a coffee-ground appearance, may be indicative of advanced gastric cancer affecting the stomach lining.

Difficulty Swallowing: Dysphagia or difficulty swallowing, excellent foods, may occur in advanced stages of gastric cancer when tumors obstruct the passage of food through the stomach.

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, especially if they are persistent or worsening over time, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly. Early detection and treatment of gastric cancer can significantly improve outcomes and increase the likelihood of successful treatment.

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Prevention and Awareness

Healthy Lifestyle Choices:

Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption can help reduce the risk of gastric cancer.

Screening and Early Detection

Regular screening tests, such as endoscopic examinations or imaging studies, may be recommended for individuals at increased risk of gastric cancer, such as those with a family history of the disease or certain genetic predispositions. Prompt intervention and better results are made possible by early detection.

Awareness and Education

Increasing public awareness about the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options for gastric cancer is crucial for early detection and prevention. Educational campaigns, community outreach programs, and patient support groups can play a vital role in raising awareness and empowering individuals to take proactive steps toward their health.

Treatment Options for Gastric Cancer

Dr. Gopal Sharma, an esteemed oncologist with years of experience in treating gastric cancer, stands out as a leading expert in the field. Known for his expertise, empathy, and dedication to patient care, Dr. Sharma has guided many people through their experience with stomach cancer by providing individualized treatment regimens and unwavering support at every stage.

With a multidisciplinary approach that integrates the latest advancements in surgical techniques, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy, Dr. Sharma ensures that each patient receives the most comprehensive and effective treatment tailored to their unique needs and circumstances.

Here are the Treatment Options for Gastric Cancer

Surgery

Surgical resection, or removal, of the tumour and surrounding tissues, is often the primary treatment for localized gastric cancer. Depending on the extent of the disease, procedures such as subtotal gastrectomy (removal of part of the stomach) or total gastrectomy (removal of the entire stomach) may be performed.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy may be used before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) to shrink the tumour and make it more operable, or after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy) to kill any remaining cancer cells and reduce the risk of recurrence. Chemotherapy drugs may also be used to treat advanced or metastatic gastric cancer.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to target and destroy cancer cells. It may be used in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy to treat localised gastric cancer or to relieve symptoms and slow disease progression in advanced cases.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy drugs specifically target cancer cells by interfering with specific molecules involved in tumour growth and progression. Drugs such as trastuzumab (Herceptin) may be used to treat gastric cancer that overexpresses the HER2 protein.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy harnesses the body’s immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells. Drugs such as pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) may be used to treat advanced gastric cancer that has not responded to other treatments.

In the Summary

Gastric cancer is a serious disease with potentially devastating consequences, but by understanding its causes and recognising its symptoms, individuals can take proactive steps to seek medical attention and receive timely treatment. If you have any concerns about your risk of gastric cancer or experience any concerning symptoms, don’t hesitate to consult with a healthcare professional like Dr. Gopal for evaluation and guidance. Early detection and intervention are key to managing gastric cancer and improving long-term outcomes.

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