Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is a type of cancer that develops in the lining of the stomach. While it is a relatively rare form of cancer, it is still important to be aware of its symptoms and risk factors. Persistent indigestion and gastritis are two symptoms that may indicate the presence of stomach cancer.
Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a common condition characterized by discomfort or pain in the upper abdomen, bloating, and nausea. Gastritis, on the other hand, is a condition that involves inflammation of the stomach lining, leading to symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and heartburn.
Dr. Ganesh Shenoy, Additional Director, Minimal Access, GI and Bariatric Surgery, Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road, Bengaluru, says, “Early satiety and fullness following meals which is usually labeled as ‘indigestion’ by common man can be an early sign of stomach cancer. This will be usually associated with decreased appetite and weight loss.”
While these symptoms are often caused by less serious conditions, it is important to see a doctor if they persist for a long period of time or if they are accompanied by other symptoms such as weight loss, fatigue, and anaemia.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak P., Senior Director, Surgical Oncology, Robotic & Laparoscopic Oncology, Fortis Hospitals, Bengaluru, says, “Yes, persistent indigestion and gastritis can be early signs of stomach cancer. The symptoms of stomach cancer are similar to indigestion which can be bloating of stomach after having food, lack of hunger, dull pain in the upper part of the abdomen, vomiting, etc. Other symptoms like vomiting of blood, black stools, and weight loss also can be seen.”
The only way to diagnose stomach cancer early is to have a high degree of suspension. When a person above 45 years of age comes with such symptoms which have lasted for more than 3 weeks even after taking regular treatment, we recommend an endoscopy test. The older you are, the higher the risk of stomach cancer.
“There is a bacteria called H. Pylori which can infect the stomach and cause stomach cancer. This infection is common in India. The bacteria spreads via unhygienic food. This infection also causes symptoms of indigestion and gastritis and can be diagnosed by endoscopy tests,” adds Dr Nayak P.
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Very often persistent indigestion is ignored by patients as well as doctors. In countries like Japan, they perform endoscopies on yearly basis and early enough to diagnose cancer early and treat it. Endoscopy at the earliest can help in the early diagnosis of this condition. Most stomach cancer if diagnosed early can be cured by Laparoscopic surgery. In India, we need to create awareness about stomach cancer. In simple words, ‘Detect to Protect.’
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