American Singer Toby Keith tragically succumbed to stomach cancer at the age of 62. His family disclosed that Keith’s battle with this formidable disease commenced in June 2022, leading to a rigorous regimen of treatments including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Medical experts emphasize the challenge of early detection due to the often-advanced stage at which visible symptoms of stomach cancer manifest.
Understanding Stomach Cancer
Keith’s passing has sent shockwaves through his fans and the music industry. Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, typically evades detection until its advanced stages, underscoring the critical importance of early recognition. Stomach cancer originates from abnormal cell growth within the stomach, a vital organ responsible for food digestion and breakdown.
Symptoms of Stomach Cancer
Identifying the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer is crucial for early intervention. As per Dr Vipulroy Rathod, Director- Gastroenterology, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, symptoms may include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Abdominal pain
- Post-meal bloating
- Feeling full after consuming small quantities of food
- Unexpected loss of appetite
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Persistent fatigue
Stomach cancer often remains asymptomatic during its initial stages, with symptoms such as indigestion and upper abdominal discomfort emerging later. Advanced stages of the disease may present symptoms like severe fatigue, involuntary weight loss, vomiting blood, and blackened stools.
Also Read: How Does Early Detection Play a Role In Stomach Cancer & Symptoms To Watch Out For
Causes and Types of Stomach Cancer
The precise causative factors of stomach cancer remain elusive, although experts attribute its onset to factors such as stomach infections, chronic acid reflux, and dietary habits rich in salty and smoked foods. Stomach cancer originates from mutations in the stomach lining cells, prompting rapid cell proliferation and tumour formation. These cancerous cells can infiltrate and destroy surrounding healthy tissues and eventually metastasize to other parts of the body.
Stomach cancer manifests in various types, including:
- Adenocarcinoma: Arising from mucus-producing cells, this is the most common form of stomach cancer.
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST): These tumours develop from specialized nerve cells within the stomach wall.
- Carcinoid tumours: Originating in neuroendocrine cells, carcinoid tumours are a type of neuroendocrine tumour.
- Lymphoma: A cancer affecting immune system cells, lymphoma may occur in the stomach if immune cells migrate to combat an infection.
Risk Factors and Prevention
Several factors elevate the risk of stomach cancer, including chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a diet high in salty and smoked foods, infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria, smoking, and a family history of stomach cancer or related genetic syndromes.
Also Read: Gastric Cancer: Steps To Minimise The Risk Of It
To mitigate the risk of stomach cancer, individuals are advised to:
- Consume a diverse array of fruits and vegetables regularly.
- Limit intake of salty and smoked foods to safeguard stomach health.
- Refrain from smoking or seek assistance to quit smoking.
- Inform healthcare providers of any familial history of stomach cancer for appropriate screening and preventive measures.
Awareness of stomach cancer symptoms and risk factors is paramount for early detection and prompt medical intervention. By prioritizing preventive measures and proactive healthcare, individuals can take proactive steps to safeguard their well-being and reduce the incidence of stomach cancer.