The stomach, located between the esophagus and the small intestine, plays essential roles in the body, such as mechanically digesting ingested food, sterilizing using gastric acid, and breaking down proteins through pepsin. The stomach, which performs these important functions, is damaged by various factors, and when inflammation is generated, various related diseases such as gastritis and gastric ulcer occur. Also, exacerbation of these related conditions increases the risk of tumors multiplying, leading to a form of cancer. Gastric cancer refers to the formation of malignant tumors in some of the mucosal cells of the stomach. It is classified into gastric adenocarcinoma arising from the gastric mucosal epithelium, malignant lymphoma occurring in the lower layer of the mucous membrane, myosarcoma, and interstitial tumor. Gastric adenocarcinoma accounts for about 90% of all gastric cancers. It is also known as cancer that accounts for the largest proportion of cancer incidence in Korea. Although the main cause of stomach cancer is not clearly known, it is known that it is caused by a combination of genetic factors caused by a family history of the immediate family, as well as hallucinatory factors such as irregular patterns of lifestyle, eating habits, and stress. . In particular, long-term consumption of processed meats such as ham and sausages, smoked foods, salted foods, and burnt foods containing nitrates and nitrites has been known to be the main cause of the occurrence. In addition, diseases such as Helicobacter pylori, chronic atrophic gastritis, pernicious anemia or gastrectomy, adenomatous colonic flip, excessive drinking habits, smoking, and obesity are also said to affect the occurrence. Now, let’s learn about the main symptoms of stomach cancer, as well as various information related to treatment and prevention.
Stomach cancer main symptoms
Gastric cancer is limited to the mucosal or submucosal layer, regardless of lymph node metastasis, for early stage, and if it has metastasized to the serosal layer or muscle layer, it is for progression. In the early stages, symptoms such as heartburn, indigestion, epigastric pain, bloating, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and weight loss appear. And if symptoms get progressively worse and lead to advanced stomach cancer, the passage from the stomach to the duodenum may narrow or blockage may cause vomiting. In addition, if there is a lot of bleeding, the stool turns black during the course of the bleeding blood passing through the digestive tract, and black stools may be discharged. In addition, if gastric perforation occurs due to gastric cancer, acute abdominal pain may occur. Stomach cancer is not easy to recognize because of its slow progression and symptoms that are similar to those of gastritis and gastric ulcer. It is regarded as a simple indigestion, and the proper treatment time is often missed after the disease progresses further by taking digestive drugs or antacids continuously. In the case of early gastric cancer, the probability of survival for 5 years after treatment is nearly 100%, but as the stage 1 to 4 progresses, the 5-year survival rate decreases by about half.
Therefore, when heartburn or indigestion persists, it is recommended to visit a hospital and undergo a detailed examination regardless of age. In particular, if an immediate family member has gastric cancer, it is known that the incidence rate is two to three times higher, so it is important to conduct regular examinations. And even if there are no gastrointestinal symptoms, it is important to have regular checkups every 1 to 2 years if you are over 40. In many cases, early gastric cancer is detected incidentally through regular check-ups without any specific symptoms, so it is very important to have regular gastroscopy.
Gastric cancer treatment and prevention
1. Diagnosis and examination
Since gastric cancer is difficult to diagnose only by examining symptoms, various tests such as gastroscopy and biopsy are performed to accurately confirm the condition. In addition, ultrasound endoscopy to check the depth of tumor invasion and abdominal ultrasound, CT, and MRI to check metastasis around the stomach can be performed. In addition, according to the diagnosis result, various treatment methods such as surgery, endoscopic treatment, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are applied in careful consideration of the individual’s health condition and the severity of the cancer. Surgical treatment includes endoscopic mucosal resection to remove a small tumor from the mucosal layer using an endoscope, partial gastrectomy to remove a portion of the stomach, and total gastrectomy to remove the entire stomach, depending on the progress and location of the cancer. will do. In addition, chemotherapy using anticancer drugs, which are drugs that destroy cancer cells, and radiation therapy, which uses radiation to destroy cancer cells, can also be treated. Since anticancer drugs are very toxic and have side effects, they are carried out with regular examinations under the supervision of a doctor. In addition, radiation therapy can also affect surrounding organs, so it is performed for the purpose of adjuvant therapy to destroy cancer cells that may remain after surgery or to relieve occlusion and pain.
2. Improvement of eating habits that cause occurrence and worsening of symptoms
As it is known that the occurrence of stomach cancer is greatly influenced by eating habits, it is important to control spicy and salty foods, burnt foods, salted foods, and smoked meats and foods. In particular, as it is known that the incidence of stomach cancer increases by about 4.5 times if you continue to eat too much salty food, it is recommended to control your salt intake. In addition, it is recommended to reduce intake of processed stored foods that have been smoked, and processed meats and salted processed foods, as they contain nitrates and nitrites. In addition, burnt food is also a risk factor that causes the production of carcinogens, so you should not eat it.
3. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits
A dietary habit of regularly consuming fresh vegetables, fruits, and fish rich in various vitamins, minerals, and high-quality protein rich in vitamins A, C, and E, while properly regulating the various foods mentioned above, can also help prevent gastric cancer. It is said to be a very important management habit. In addition, it is known that regular intake of various foods such as cabbage, hemp, radish, plum, and ginger, which are known to protect the gastric mucosa and help control stomach acid, helps prevent gastric cancer.
4. Smoking cessation and alcohol consumption control
It is said that various harmful substances contained in tobacco have a great influence on the occurrence of cancer. It is recommended to quit smoking to prevent gastric cancer, as studies have shown that smokers are about three times more likely to develop stomach cancer than non-smokers.
Long-term drinking habits are also known to be a risk factor for gastric cancer by causing damage to the gastric mucosa. It is known that drinking large amounts of alcohol over a long period of time increases the incidence of gastric cancer by 1.5 to 2 times, so it is important to properly control the amount of alcohol consumed. In addition, excessive stress and obesity are also factors that affect the occurrence of stomach cancer, so it is very important to maintain a proper body weight through continuous exercise and maintaining a habit for appropriate stress.