Gastric cancer may be linked to salty diet
Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer or adenocarcinoma, is cancer that begins formation in the inner lining of the stomach. While it is less common in the United States, it is often found in people in Asia, South America, eastern and central Europe. This may be because of a saltier diet or a diet high in pickled or smoked foods. Other risk factors for developing stomach cancer include:
- H. pylori infection
- Long-lasting anemia
You may also be more at risk if you smoke, are overweight or obese, or if you work or have worked in the coal, metal, timber or rubber industries.
Symptoms and diagnosis of stomach cancer
People with stomach cancer may or may not have symptoms at first. Certain early symptoms are similar to those of other conditions, such as:
- Loss of appetite
Because these symptoms are common to many conditions, stomach cancer may go unrecognized at first.
As the condition worsens, you may have symptoms such as:
- Bloody stool
- Stomach pain
- Unexplained weight loss
If you are having symptoms that are concerning you or you know that you are at risk for stomach cancer, be sure to talk with your doctor. Your doctor will perform a completely physical exam and review of your medical history. The doctor may also recommend certain tests, such as:
- Blood tests, including complete blood count (CBC)
- Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) or upper GI test
You may also need a stool test to rule out infection or parasites, and to check for white blood cells and fecal fat.
Your doctor will review and explain the test results with you. If you are diagnosed with stomach cancer, a common treatment approach includes a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted drugs.