Not Just Stomach Pain?
Stomach cancer symptoms like many other types of internal cancers, are at the onset difficult to detect and diagnose as they tend to mirror other health issues and be misdiagnosed by the patient.
The most frequent stomach cancer symptoms include feeling bloated or overly full after eating even a small meal. This can be misunderstood as a stomach flu or bug. Mild to severe heartburn can be misdiagnosed as indigestion or GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder). In advanced stages stomach cancer symptoms can present as severe nausea, crippling stomach and abdominal pain. The patient may even experience excessive flatulence,
Given the location of the stomach, cancer in this area tends to be very aggressive and spreads quickly and easily through the major organs. Patients experiencing symptoms also manifest issues with eating and begin to lose weight quickly and become dehydrated as the consumption of food or fluids through the digestive tract becomes highly painful, and the patient begins to refuse to eat or drink as a result. The presence of the lymph nodes in the abdominal cavity make stomach cancer symptoms likely to spread to other major organs and become systemic instead of localized, and enter the blood stream leading to patient mortality.
The acidic nature of the stomach lends itself to the spread and development of cancer as digestive acids have the ability to cause precancerous cells to mutate at a rapid rate, causing the cancer to spread. Metastasis is almost impossible to prevent once the cancer cells have spread outside the stomach and since complete removal of the stomach is not possible (as removal of other cancerous areas have the highest recovery rates when surgically removed) stomach cancer has one of the highest fatality rates among all the cancers.
In advanced stages of this cancer 95% of diagnoses are for the condition of “adenocarcinomas” which are cancerous lesions and tumors present on the inside of the stomach lining and in the glandular tissues of the stomach. This condition eventually evolves to a lining of the stomach and hardening which prevents the flexibility required for the stomach to properly digest food inside the peritoneum which is the cavity of the stomach.
One of the invisible symptoms is internal bleeding which due to the digestive process, cannot be consistently detected visually in the stool. If stomach cancer symptoms are present a FOT (Fecal Occult Test) will be conducted to determine not just the presence of blood in the feces but also the quantity of blood which will assist in determining the severity and progression of the stomach cancer.
With all the health education available about stomach cancer symptoms and the importance of early detection and treatment to the survivorship rate of diagnosed populations it remains confusing as to why individuals continue to allow cancer to progress to stage two or later before prompting investigations. Is it fear? Are we simply just more willing to consider it a stomach pain than the possibility of it being something far more life threatening? And if so perhaps the educational efforts should be geared toward patient self-management where any change in normal functioning is addressed and investigated immediately. If only the cost and availability of health care allowed for that.