What is the function of the stomach?
The stomach is a vital organ in our body that helps in the process of digestion. It performs a special job of breaking down the food we eat into smaller particles, so our body can absorb nutrients from it. Imagine that your stomach is a big container that stores food and mixes it with enzymes and acids to break it down.
The process of the stomach helps our body to consume vital nutrients from food. The nutrients include minerals, vitamins, and energy. All of these are crucial for our growth and healthy life. An authentic definition for the stomach function can be, the stomach helps to transform the food we eat into usable substances for our body.
What is stomach cancer?
Stomach cancer is a serious health condition that can affect individuals. It happens when cancer cells start to grow in the stomach. Cancer is a disease that happens due to the rapid and uncontrolled growth of cells in any part of the body. In the case of the stomach, the abnormal growth of cells forms tumors inside the stomach. This can lead to various problems. problems such as weight loss, indigestion, and blood in the stool.
Remember, if you or someone you know have stomach cancer it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional as soon as possible. You can recognize stomach cancer by verifying the symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer can cause certain signs and symptoms that we must pay attention to. If you and someone you know are experiencing the symptoms, consult a healthcare professional for the correct diagnosis. Here are some common signs and symptoms of stomach cancer:
1. Stomach pain:
People with stomach cancer may often feel pain or discomfort in their stomach area. It can be mild to severe pain. Sometimes the pain can get worse after eating.
Indigestion means trouble digesting food. bloating, burping, and burning sensations in the heart often, could be a sign of stomach cancer.
3. Unexplained weight loss:
You can experience weight loss without even trying. It means if you experience weight loss without changing your lifestyle, it could be a sign.
4. Loss of appetite:
If you notice that you are not as hungry as you used to be or not wanting to eat most of the time, it can be a sign too.
5. The Feeling of Fullness:
It means that you stop feeling hungry with smaller amounts of food than usual. If you feel like your appetite is not the same as before, it’s worth consulting a doctor.
6. Blood in the stool (poop):
If you see blood in your stool, it can be a possible sign of stomach cancer. If you are a child make sure to let some elders know about the condition and situation.
Some of these signs and symptoms can be caused by other diseases. It is always beneficial to consult a doctor for a correct diagnosis. Remember that each person’s condition is unique so diagnosis with the help of a professional is helpful to understand the condition better.
What causes stomach cancer?
Stomach cancer can occur due to various factors. While the exact causes are not known, some things might increase the risk of developing stomach cancer. Let’s take a look:
Our food choices play a role. Eating lots of salty or smoked foods, as well as pickled vegetables can increase the risk. A diet that lacks fresh fruits and vegetables, may increase the risk of developing cancer.
2. Stomach infection:
Certain infections can lead to inflammation and increase the risk of stomach cancer. For example, a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is often linked to the development of stomach cancer.
Sometimes, stomach cancer may run in families. If your blood relatives have had the disease, it might increase your chances of developing it too.
Although stomach cancer can occur at any age, it is more commonly found in older adults. Some other factors may contribute to the development of stomach cancer, such as:
- Gastro-oesophageal disease (GERD)
- Vaping and smoking
- Consuming too much alcohol
- History of stomach ulcers
Having one or more of these factors does not guarantee that a person will develop stomach cancer. These factors simply increase the chances. There are many people without these risk factors who also develop the disease, and vice versa.
It’s always best to focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet. Protecting our stomachs by managing other infections and going for check-ups are crucial for good health.
Ways to Diagnose Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer is a serious disease, and it’s helpful to identify it early. Here are some ways doctors can find out if someone has stomach cancer.
1. Physical Examination:
The doctor will check your belly and ask questions about discomfort or symptoms.
2. Blood Tests:
Doctors can take a small sample of your blood to check for signs of stomach cancer. Blood tests can help find cancer markers or proteins that show the presence of cancer. The test can include Complete Blood Count (CBC) test for the diagnosis.
An endoscopy is a test where a doctor uses a thin, flexible tube with a camera on the end to look inside your stomach. This may sound a bit scary, but you’ll be given medicine to make you feel sleepy during the procedure.
If something unusual is found during the endoscopy, the doctor might take a tiny piece of tissue called a biopsy. Then they will examine it in a lab to look for any cancer cells.
5. Imaging Tests:
Remember, these tests are done by kind and caring doctors who want to help you feel better. It’s important to work together with your doctor and tell them if you’re feeling uneasy or have any questions.
Please note that the information provided is simplified for a 5th-grade understanding. For accurate and in-depth information, it’s always best to consult with healthcare professionals or trusted sources.
Stomach cancer is a serious disease, but there are some things you can do to lower your risk of getting it. Here are some simple steps for you:
1. Eat healthy:
Eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help protect against stomach cancer. This means choosing foods that are low in fat and high in fiber.
2. Avoid processed and smoked foods:
Foods that are processed or smoked, like hot dogs, bacon, and sausages, can increase your risk of stomach cancer. It’s best to limit these kinds of foods or avoid them altogether.
3. Don’t smoke:
Smoking is linked to many types of cancer, including stomach cancer. If you smoke, it is better to quit for your overall health.
4. Limit alcohol consumption:
Drinking too much alcohol can also increase your risk of stomach cancer. It’s a good idea to limit your alcohol intake to reduce your risk.
5. Practice good food safety:
Make sure to handle and prepare your food safely to avoid any bacterial infections that could lead to stomach cancer. This includes washing your hands before eating and keeping your food properly refrigerated.
6. Get screened:
If you have a family history of stomach cancer or other risk factors, talk to your doctor about getting screened. They may recommend certain tests or exams to catch any potential problems early.
Remember, always consult with a trusted healthcare professional for the most accurate advice tailored to your individual needs. Stay healthy and take care!
Treatments for Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer is a serious illness that affects the stomach, the organ in our body where food goes after we eat it. When someone has stomach cancer, abnormal and harmful cells start growing in their stomach, and can make them feel sick.
Methods that are used to treat cancer under the supervision of various professionals include:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
- Surgical methods
Let’s dive into a bit of detail for each of the treatment methods:
This treatment involves using special drugs to fight and kill cancer cells throughout the body. The drugs can be given either through pills or injections into a vein. Chemotherapy can be compared to a team of superheroes traveling through the bloodstream, seeking out and destroying the harmful cancer cells wherever they may be hiding.
2. Radiation Therapy:
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams, such as X-rays or protons, to target and kill cancer cells. It is a bit like shining a spotlight onto the affected areas to damage and destroy the cancer cells. Radiation therapy can be given externally, where a machine directs the beams towards the stomach, or internally, where radioactive material is placed inside the body near the cancer. Doctors carefully plan radiation therapy to avoid harming healthy cells as much as possible.
3. Targeted Therapy:
This type of treatment attacks specific changes in cancer cells that allow them to grow uncontrollably. Different targeted therapy drugs work in different ways. They can interfere with the signals that tell cancer cells to divide, or they can block the growth of blood vessels that supply nutrients to the tumor. Targeted therapy is like using a specially designed missile that seeks out and destroys only the cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
Our immune system helps protect us against diseases, including cancer. Immunotherapy works by strengthening the body’s own immune response to fight cancer cells. It is like having an army of soldiers who are trained to recognize and attack the cancer cells, helping the body’s natural defenses in the fight against the disease.
It’s important to remember that each person’s situation is unique, so doctors will create a treatment plan that is best for that individual. They will take into account things like the stage of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, and other important factors.
When it comes to surgery methods used to treat stomach cancer, there are a few different options that doctors may consider. Let’s delve into each of them in a little more detail:
1. Endoscopic Resection:
This is a minimally invasive procedure where the doctor uses a thin, flexible tube with a camera called an endoscope to examine and remove early-stage cancerous tissues. It’s like using a tiny camera to check inside the stomach and do the needed repairs.
2. Subtotal Gastrectomy:
In this operation, the doctor removes the part of the stomach where the cancer is located, along with nearby lymph nodes. The remaining stomach is then reconnected to the small intestine, allowing digestion to continue as normally as possible. It’s like taking out the affected section of a garden hose and reconnecting the ends.
3. Total Gastrectomy:
This surgery involves removing the entire stomach to get rid of the cancer. After that, the surgeon creates a new connection between the esophagus (the tube that connects our mouth to our stomach) and the small intestine. It’s like removing the entire garden hose and replacing it with a new one.
After surgery, it may take time for the body to adjust to the changes. Eating smaller, more frequent meals and following a specific diet may be necessary for proper digestion. However, doctors and dietitians can help patients adjust to these changes and maintain good nutrition.
It’s important to remember that surgery may not be suitable for all stomach cancer patients, as it depends on the stage of the cancer and the overall health of the individual. That’s why doctors thoroughly assess each case and discuss the best possible treatment options with their patients.
Whenever you or someone you know experience the symptoms of stomach cancer it is always beneficial to consult a healthcare provider. The professionals help to judge the situation and diagnose the disease based on the individual’s specific condition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the stages of stomach cancer?
|Stages||Definition||Symptoms||Treatment options||Survival rates|
|0||The cancer cells are found only in the innermost lining of the stomach.||No specific symptoms in this stage||Surgical removal of the affected area or endoscopic treatment to remove the affected tissue||Survival rates are high around 90%|
|I||Cancer cells begin to grow into deeper layers of the stomach wall but have not spread to lymph nodes yet.||Abdominal pain, bloating, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss||Surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy||The 5-year survival rate is around 60-90% (Depending on the tumor invasion)|
|II||Tumors spread into more layers of the stomach and might have reached nearby lymph node||Persistent indigestion, nausea, stomach pain, and difficulty swallowing||Chemotherapy and radiation therapy||The 5-year survival rate varies between 40-70% (depending on tumor size and involvement of lymph nodes)|
|III||Cancer has spread to nearby tissues and lymph nodes but hasn’t affected the other organs||Severe abdominal pain, vomiting blood, black stools, and fatigue||Combination of surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy||5-year survival rate reduces to 20-40%|
|iV||Most advanced stage, where cancer has spread to distant organs or tissues||Severe pain, significant weight loss, jaundice, and fluid accumulation in the abdomen||Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and biological therapy (just to slow down the further spread)||The 5-year survival rate is approximately 4-5%|
Please note that the information provided is for general reference purposes only, and it is always advised to consult with healthcare professionals for accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment options in the case of stomach cancer.
How is anemia and stomach cancer related?
Anemia and stomach cancer can be related, but it’s important to understand that not everyone with one condition will have the other. Anemia is a condition where a person has a low number of healthy red blood cells. Stomach cancer, on the other hand, is a type of cancer that affects the stomach.
The reason these conditions can be related is that stomach cancer can cause bleeding in the stomach. This bleeding can lead to a decrease in the number of red blood cells (RBC), causing anemia. When a person has anemia, they may experience symptoms such as feeling tired, weak, or dizzy because their body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to provide oxygen to their organs.
If someone has both stomach cancer and anemia, their doctor needs to find out the cause of the anemia. They may need to do more tests to understand if the anemia is due to bleeding from stomach cancer or another reason.
It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your health or if you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms like anemia. They can provide the necessary guidance and care.