The month of November is the Stomach Cancer Awareness Month. This dedicated month serves as a powerful platform to illuminate the shadows surrounding stomach cancer, a disease often characterized by subtle symptoms that demand our vigilant understanding. Through this collective effort to raise awareness, we strive to empower individuals with knowledge about the early signs, risks, and preventive measures associated with stomach cancer.
In an interview with Zee News English, Dr Rahul Kanaka, Consultant- Surgical Oncology, Manipal Hospital Yeshwanthpur, Sarjapur Road, and Hebbal shares symptoms and the importance of early diagnosis.
Stomach Cancer: Symptoms
Dr Rahul says, “Stomach cancer, unfortunately, doesn’t announce its presence with bold symptoms. Instead, it begins with vague and nonspecific signals that can easily be dismissed as everyday discomfort. Persistent abdominal unease, loss of appetite, a feeling of fullness after small meals, and heartburn are common early indicators. These symptoms may masquerade as routine gastrointestinal issues or stress-related problems, leading individuals to overlook them. However, any persistent discomfort lasting more than three weeks should trigger concern and prompt a visit to a healthcare professional.”
One of the primary reasons for misdiagnosis lies in the subtle onset of stomach cancer. In its early stages, the disease doesn’t present overt signs, making it easy for individuals to attribute symptoms to factors like indigestion or stress. Unfortunately, this delay in seeking medical attention can result in a misdiagnosis, allowing the cancer to progress unchecked. The lack of specific screening methods further compounds the challenge of early diagnosis.
Stomach Cancer: Early Diagnosis
“To overcome these hurdles, fostering a high index of suspicion is crucial. Individuals must be proactive in reporting any unexplained, vague symptoms lasting beyond three weeks. Timely intervention is paramount for effective treatment. In terms of diagnosis, a simple upper GI endoscopy plays a pivotal role. This procedure enables healthcare professionals to visualize the stomach lining, identify abnormalities, and facilitate early diagnosis, significantly enhancing the chances of successful intervention”, adds Dr Rahul.
Raising awareness about these symptoms is pivotal in the battle against stomach cancer. Advocating for proactive screening measures and emphasizing the importance of seeking prompt medical attention can contribute to improved outcomes. Stomach Cancer Awareness Month serves as a poignant reminder that knowledge is our most potent weapon in the fight against this silent but formidable adversary.