November is also Stomach Cancer Awareness Month
Stomach cancer is caused by changes in the cells of the stomach, although it's unclear exactly why these changes occur.
Cancer begins with a change (mutation) in the structure of the DNA in cells, which can affect how they grow. This means cells grow and reproduce uncontrollably, producing a lump of tissue called a tumor.
Left untreated, cancer can spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymphatic system (a network of vessels and glands called lymph nodes located throughout the body).
Once the cancer reaches your lymphatic system, it's capable of spreading to other parts of your body, including your blood, bones and organs.
It's not known what triggers the changes in DNA that lead to stomach cancer and why only a small number of people develop the condition.
Causes of Stomach Cancer :
• Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
It is a common type of bacteria. In most people, these bacteria are harmless, but in some people an H. pylori infection can cause problems such as stomach ulcers, recurring bouts of indigestion or long-term inflammation of the stomach lining.
• Age and gender
• Family history
(Ref: Cancer Research UK)
Symptoms of Stomach Cancer
Many symptoms of stomach cancer are similar to less serious conditions, so it can be difficult to recognize in the early stages.
Early stage symptoms include:
• persistent indigestion
• trapped wind and frequent burping
• feeling full very quickly when eating
• feeling bloated after eating
• feeling sick
• pain in your stomach or breastbone
• difficulty swallowing
• vomiting (the vomit may be streaked with blood), although this is uncommon in the early stages
Symptoms of advanced stomach cancer can include:
• blood in your stools, or black stools
• loss of appetite
• weight loss
• lumpiness and swelling in your stomach
• yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)