The fourth most common cancer in the world (and the seventh most common in men), gastric or stomach cancer has several common symptoms.
These include poor appetite, unintentional weight loss, vomiting (with or without blood), abdominal discomfort typically above the navel and passage of blood leading to black stools. However, each of these symptoms can be indicative of other illnesses.
“This is why early-stage stomach cancer is often so hard to detect,” says Dr. Melvin Look, a consultant gastrointestinal surgeon PanAsia Surgery Group. A gastroscopy (endoscopic examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract) is the main test that is used to detect this type of cancer, he explains where a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a small video camera on the end is let down your throat to examine the lining of your esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine.
“If abnormal areas are seen, tissue samples will be collected and sent to a lab for further examination,” says Dr. Look. Treatment options can vary from endoscopic therapy to surgery and chemotherapy, so discuss your options with a doctor before proceeding, he advises.
From The Finder (Issue 291), March 2018
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