Stomach Cancer

The stomach is the organ that produces strong gastric acids, including hydrochloric acid, that help digest large molecules of food and dissolves them for better absorption of nutrients by the body. Gastric juices also prevent the body from getting infected by killing some microbes like bacteria and fungi that have found their way into the body, or may have been introduced by eating contaminated food. The smooth muscles that line the walls of the stomach help mobilize food to allow them to travel down the digestive tract more easily.

A stomach cancer occurs when an overgrowth of cells is found within the organ. The rapid division of cells forms a mass called a tumour, which has no useful function in the body aside from competing with healthy cells for nutrients and oxygen. The presence of a tumour in the stomach can greatly interfere with the normal digestive functions of the organ.

How prevalent is stomach cancer in the United States? According to the National Cancer Institute, the condition more commonly affects Asians, African-Americans, and Hispanics, as compared to white Americans. In the same resource, they explain that men are more prone to getting stomach cancer, and especially if they are above the age of seventy two years old. Not only that, a person becomes prone to stomach cancer if his diet is rich in fatty foods, highly acidic substances, and when there is an existing bacteria called Helicobacter pylori that has entered the digestive tract and formed a colony within the stomach tissues. Aside from the abovementioned risk factors, smokers are likely to get the condition. And when there is a family history of stomach cancer, this heightens the probability of a person acquiring it.

Data and statistics from a 2007 report by the American Cancer Association explain that every year, about 21,000 patients are newly diagnosed with stomach cancer. And among the current patients with the condition, around 11,200 deaths will likely occur.

What are the symptoms of stomach cancer and how can the condition be treated? When frequent stomach pains and bloating are felt after small meals, and when a person often feels nauseated, he or she should be checked or screened for stomach cancer. This condition can be treated by a combination of therapies, including radiation, chemotherapy, and biological therapy. There are also surgical methods that are performed to remove the cancerous growth within the stomach. Furthermore, a lot of people can prevent themselves from succumbing to stomach cancer if they begin to adapt healthier habits, such as quitting smoking and observing proper diet enriched with fruits and vegetables.

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