Cancer of Stomach
Cancer of stomach is one of the commonest forms of all cancers, account for about 30% of all cancer deaths. It occurs at either the upper end of the stomach where the esophagus empties into it, or at the lower end at the exit to the small intestine. The disease develops at any age but appears most often in middle or later middle life. Males are affected three times as often as females.
Symptoms. Unfortunately, stomach cancer can be present for as long as two to three years before there are obvious symptoms. Finally the patient complains of discomfort over his abdomen, loses weight and strength, and has no appetite for certain foods, particularly meat. Simultaneously, he shows sign of dyspepsia, discomfort after eating, a feeling of fullness or gas, nausea, and vomiting. Occasionally his history suggests a peptic ulcer.
A patient may have these symptoms for months or years, but at some point the weakness and weight loss become pronounced, and an examination reveals the stomach cancer.
Sign of obstruction may indicate the location of the cancer. By the time it can be felt through the outer abdominal wall, it is usually too late for any cure or effective treatment.
Complications. Among the complications of stomach cancer are massive hemorrhage from erosion of a stomach blood vessel, intestinal obstruction, spread of the disease to involve distant organs, and eventually death.
Prevention. As yet there is no known preventive for cancer of any type. Hope lies in early discovery and prompt treatment. A patient who has had the symptoms described for any length of time should see a doctor at once. If a diagnosis of stomach cancer is established, arrangements will be made for surgery. Chances of recovery are good only if action is taken early enough.