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Is Heartburn A Sign Of Stomach Cancer

Early Symptoms Are Commonlyoverlooked

Be Clear on Cancer – Heartburn, most days for 3 weeks or more. BSL leaflet

Early stomach cancer symptoms are typically so unremarkable that they go completely unnoticed.

Stomach cancer is one of those tricky diagnoses where most people may have retrospectively felt symptoms, but theyre usually vague symptoms that can be confused with many other benign gastrointestinal disorders.

Some of these early symptoms include:

  • Bloating.
  • Nausea.
  • A general feeling of discomfort.

Because these symptoms tend to be dismissed as normal GI issues and they are for most people when stomach cancer is finally diagnosed, its often in the advanced stages.

How Can You Treat Stomach Cancer

The treatments for stomach cancer vary depending on the type of cancer you have, its location in the body, if it is advanced and your personalized care plan. At The University of Kansas Cancer Center, we offer that may provide new treatment options for stomach cancer.

Possible options include:

  • : High-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells, typically done using a machine outside the body.
  • : Using one or more drugs to destroy cancer cells by preventing cancer cell growth.
  • Surgery: GI surgery is typically a minimally invasive procedure. The surgeon removes the tumor, as well as some surrounding healthy tissue to determine the extent of disease.
  • Targeted therapy: Treatment that targets the genes, proteins or tissue that supports the cancerous cell growth and survival. Targeted therapy blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells and minimizes damage to healthy cells.

What Are The Different Stages Of Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer is staged based on the severity of cancerous cell growth and spread. Adenocarcinoma is initially evaluated by the tumor, node metastasis system.

  • T: How deeply has the tumor spread into the stomach wall?
  • N: Has the stomach cancer spread to the lymph nodes?
  • M: Has the stomach cancer spread to other parts of the body?

After the TNM staging information has been taken into account, the cancer is staged at 0 or 1 to 4. Tumor classifications for staging are as follows:

  • Stage 0 is early cancer on the surface of the stomach lining.
  • Stage 1A or 1B
  • Stage 2A or 2B, commonly with deeper stomach wall involved
  • Stage 3A or 3B or 3C, commonly with lymph node involvement
  • Stage 4 means cancer has metastasized elsewhere in the body outside of the stomach.

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Unexplained Nausea And Vomiting

A cancerous tumor in the stomach can take up room and reduce the space available for food. This can, as mentioned, occur because the tumor impairs the mechanical action of stomach emptying and delays the movement of the food into the small intestine. This mechanism can be painful in some patients. This pain is often relieved by vomiting. Food that cannot move past the stomach can begin to ferment or undergo a chemical break down process in the absence of oxygen.

The environment created during this process is favorable for the growth of harmful bacteria, causing a patient to become nauseous and vomit. Food that sits in the stomach too long can develop into a bezoar or a hard, solid collection. Bezoars can obstruct the gastrointestinal tract, which also results in nausea and vomiting. Furthermore, bleeding from the tumor inside of a patient’s stomach can cause it to become irritated and result in vomiting.

Advanced Symptoms Of Stomach Cancer

Regular heartburn

As the cancer grows larger and spreads beyond the stomach, it may start causing more noticeable symptoms. The signs and symptoms of more advanced stomach cancer may include:

  • Blood in the stool
  • Unexplained and unintentional weight loss
  • Belly pain
  • Jaundice
  • Buildup of fluid, or swelling, in the abdominal area

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Progression To Esophageal Cancer

A small percentage of people with Barretts esophagus will develop cancer, and the number of cases in North America is rising.

Identifying cancer early really improves patient care and outcomes, says surgeon Richard Battafarano, M.D., Ph.D.

Cancer that has not spread to lymph nodes can be removed using minimally invasive endoscopic techniques. When the cancer is more advanced, surgical removal is required. In advanced cases, often when patients hadnt shown symptoms or been treated before the cancers discovery, chemotherapy or radiation treatments may be required before surgery.

Stomach Cancer Awareness Month: How Can You Recognize Warning Signs Of Gastric Cancer

Stomach Cancer Awareness Month 2021: Stomach cancer and Gastric cancer are difficult to diagnose because they develop slowly and patients dont show symptoms at an earlier stage. People who eat fewer fruits and vegetables, and more salty and smoked foods are at greater risk than those with a history of the disease and those with a genetic predisposition.

A mere 20% of patients diagnosed with stomach cancer in India are found at an early stage. Between 50 and 30%, half will be suffering from locally advanced disease. The remaining 25% to 30 percent will have metastatic or spread disease. Gastric Cancer Awareness Month, November, aims to spread awareness about this deadly condition. It is the third most common type of cancer in India for men aged between 15 and 44 years old.

Dr. Krunal Khobragade, Consultant Surgical Oncology, HCG NCHRI Cancer Hospital Nagpur talks about stomach cancer or gastric cancer, its symptoms and risk factors.

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What is stomach cancer and gastric cancer?

Understanding stomach cancer is key to understanding the normal structure of the stomach and its function. The stomach region is composed of five parts: cardia , body , and antrum. The proximal and middle stomachs are the first three stomach parts . The distal stomach includes the lower 2 parts . Dr Khobragade says that antrum/distal stomach cancer is the most common in Indians.

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How Stomach Cancer Spreads

There are 3 ways stomach cancer can spread:

  • directly the cancer can spread from the stomach into nearby tissues and organs, such as the pancreas, colon, small intestine and peritoneum
  • through the lymphatic system the lymphatic system is a series of glands located throughout your body, similar to the blood circulatory system the glands produce specialised cells needed by your immune system to fight infection
  • through the blood which can cause the cancer to spread from the stomach to other parts of the body, most commonly the liver

Stomach cancer that spreads to another part of the body is known as metastatic stomach cancer.

Persistent Nausea Or Vomiting

Can Heartburn Cause Throat Cancer?

Nausea and vomiting are also common symptoms of stomach cancer. While there are a plethora of other conditions that cause nausea or vomiting, the persistence of symptoms is generally a sign of a more serious medical condition.

If symptoms are persistent or you vomit up bloodeven if just a small amountmake an appointment to see your healthcare provider right away. Bloody vomit, also known as hematemesis, may be a sign of cancer or a noncancerous condition like a peptic ulcer, severe GERD, or esophageal varices.

Bleeding from the stomach can also give vomit a coffee ground-like appearance. This is more typically seen when stomach cancer is advanced but can also be the result of conditions affecting the esophagus or other parts of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

A gastric hemorrhage is a medical emergency. If you are vomiting up a large amount of bloodmore than a few teaspoonsgo to the emergency room.

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Tests That Examine The Stomach And Esophagus Are Used To Diagnose Gastric Cancer

The following tests and procedures may be used:

  • Physical exam and health history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patients health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
  • Blood chemistry studies: A procedure in which a blood sample is checked to measure the amounts of certain substances released into the blood by organs and tissues in the body. An unusual amount of a substance can be a sign of disease.
  • Complete blood count : A procedure in which a sample of blood is drawn and checked for the following:
  • The amount of hemoglobin in the red blood cells.
  • The portion of the sample made up of red blood cells.
  • Upper endoscopy: A procedure to look inside the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum to check for abnormal areas. An endoscope is passed through the mouth and down the throat into the esophagus. Enlarge Upper endoscopy. A thin, lighted tube is inserted through the mouth to look for abnormal areas in the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine.
  • Full After Small Amounts Of Food

    Stomach cancer patients may feel full after they consume even small amounts of food. This symptom may be referred to as early satiety. The mechanism behind this symptom can be anything that disables stomach emptying. For instance, an individual’s stomach tumor can take up space near the area where food passes from the stomach into the small intestine, resulting in delayed emptying of the stomach.

    A patient with a stomach tumor that compresses the first part of the large intestine can also delay stomach emptying. If an individual’s tumor is large enough and spans across the stomach, it can obstruct the normal movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. Stomach cancer that damages the nerve and muscle tissues responsible for propelling food from the stomach to the small intestine can cause a patient to experience early satiety.

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    Age Diet And Stomach Disease Can Affect The Risk Of Developing Gastric Cancer

    Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. Risk factors for gastric cancer include the following:

    • Eating a diet high in salted, smoked foods and low in fruits and vegetables.
    • Eating foods that have not been prepared or stored properly.
    • Being older or male.
    • Having a mother, father, sister, or brother who has had stomach cancer.

    Serious Warning Signs Of Stomach Cancer

    Heartburn may be sign of stomach cancer

    Stomach cancer is a malignancy that begins in the cells of an individual’s stomach, which are the cells responsible for producing mucus. Stomach cancer occurs when damage occurs in the DNA of one of the cells that give it the ability to grow faster, multiply quicker, and live longer. Certain infections, obesity, some inherited conditions, and smoking can increase the risk of stomach cancer. Stomach cancer can be diagnosed through a physical exam, blood tests, upper endoscopy, CT scans, barium swallow x-ray, or stomach biopsy.

    Stomach cancer treatment may include surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and radiation therapy. A combination of these treatments is necessary to cure stomach cancer. Many patients will also need certain pain medications and other cancer medicines to assist them and make the journey easier.

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    What Is Oesophageal Cancer

    Oesophageal cancer impacts the gullet – which is the long tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach.

    Each year in the UK there are around 9,100 cases of this cancer and just 15 per cent of patients survive the cancer for five years or more.

    There are many possible symptoms of oesophageal cancer, but they might be hard to spot.

    They can affect your digestion, such as:

    • having problems swallowing
    • symptoms of indigestion, such as burping a lot

    Other symptoms include:

    • a cough that is not getting better
    • a hoarse voice
    • loss of appetite or losing weight without trying to
    • feeling tired or having no energy
    • pain in your throat or the middle of your chest, especially when swallowing

    The elevated risk was seen across people regardless of their gender, whether they smoked or drank booze – other risk factors for certain cancers.

    Dr Abnet and colleagues estimated that approximately 17 per cent of cancers of the voice box or oesophagus in adults aged between 50 and 71 years old are linked with acid reflux.

    They wrote in their paper that their results add “robust prospective evidence” for the link between GERD and oesophageal cancer.

    The paper said it was possible that leftover acid in the oesophagus could be injuring delicate tissue and causing cancer, among other explanations.

    Over time, the chronic inflammation in the oesophagus caused by GERD is already known to lead to narrowing, ulcers and damage to the tissue lining.

    Chronic Heartburn And Acid Reflux Might Be Early Sign Of Cancer This Is What You Need To Know

    During a lifetime, most adults experience heartburn. A Heartburn is an uncomfortable burning sensation in the chest, just behind the breastbone. The pain often rises in the chest and can be felt in the throat, neck, or angle of the jaw. A heartburn is commonly associated with a regurgitation of an acid found in the stomach known as gastric acid. The acid digests the food we consume, but when it rises the esophagus, a burning sensation is felt.

    Stomach pain is a dull ache in the stomach or cramps. It is usually short-lived, but it is a greater cause of concern when it becomes severe. Medical assistance should be administered especially if the pain is concentrated in a particular area.

    At the end of the esophagus, where it connects with the stomach, there is a valve. This valve prevents acid present in the stomach to move up the esophagus. Acid reflux is a condition where the acid rises the esophagus. Acid reflux causes heartburn and chest pain. According to research conducted in the US, forty-four percent of adults suffers from heartburn, stomach pain or acid reflux once every month. Therefore, they are prevalent conditions though manageable.

    Stomach cancer is a disease where cancerous cells develop in the lining of the stomach. It can be attributed to an infection by a bacteria called H. pylori, indigestion among other factors according to the findings by researchers. It is a disease with no symptoms and it is often diagnosed at the advanced stage when symptoms arise.

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    Certain Factors Affect Prognosis And Treatment Options

    The prognosis and treatment options depend on the following:

    • The stage of the cancer .
    • The patients general health.

    When gastric cancer is found very early, there is a better chance of recovery. Gastric cancer is often in an advanced stage when it is diagnosed. At later stages, gastric cancer can be treated but rarely can be cured. Taking part in one of the clinical trials being done to improve treatment should be considered. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI website.

    How Can You Detect Stomach Cancer Early

    Symptoms of Stomach Cancer

    Be sure to contact your medical provider if you feel like something is not right. There are screening tests for stomach cancer when people are at risk for or are experiencing signs and symptoms. Diagnostic evaluations for gastric cancer include:

    • Complete medical history and physical exam
    • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy to view the esophagus, stomach and small intestine after sedation. A small, flexible tube is inserted into the mouth with a tiny camera on the end that allows the doctor to see inside your stomach.
    • Biopsy of stomach tissue to be evaluated under a microscope
    • CT scan to visualize organs during X-ray
    • Endoscopic ultrasound to diagnose and treat stomach cancer at the same time by visualizing organs and nearby blood vessels
    • Positron emission tomography scan to illuminate cancer cells. A radioactive sugar tracer is used because cancer cells use more sugar than healthy cells and the tracer illuminates the cancer cells.

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    Does Stomach Cancer Affect Men And Women Differently

    It is important to look for signs of stomach cancer in adults over the age of 55. However, it most commonly affects those in their 60s or 70s. While it is crucial to be aware of the signs of stomach cancer in females, men are more likely to develop stomach cancer. In 2020, 16,980 men and 10,620 women are projected to be diagnosed with the disease. Men have a lifetime risk of 1 in 95 of developing stomach cancer, while women have a 1 in 154 risk. The signs of stomach cancer in men are typically no different than in women.

    How Is Esophageal Cancer Treated

    The type of treatment depends in part on the stage of the cancer. The main treatments for esophageal cancer are surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, or a combination:

    • Surgery. In the early stages of cancer, your surgeon can remove the tumor completely. Sometimes this can be done with the aid of an endoscope. If the cancer has spread to deeper tissue layers, it may be necessary to remove the cancerous portion of your esophagus and reattach the remaining portions. In more serious cases, your surgeon may also remove the upper portion of your stomach and/or your lymph nodes.
    • Radiation.Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. Radiation can either be directed at the cancerous area from outside of your body or it can be administered from within your body. Radiation can be used before or after surgery and is most commonly used in combination with chemotherapy for people with esophageal cancer.
    • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is the use of drug treatment to kill cancer cells. This is often administered either before or after surgery or in combination with radiation.

    You and your doctor will determine what treatment plan is best for you. You will likely be referred to a specialist to coordinate your treatment. This could be a gastroenterologist, a thoracic surgeon, a radiation oncologist, or a medical oncologist.

    National Cancer Institute :

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