November is a month known for the pleasure of eating and is the ideal month to raise awareness about stomach cancer or gastric cancer.
One is often faced with “Am I experiencing acid reflux or is it something more serious, like stomach cancer?”
Understanding Difference between GERD & Stomach Cancer or Gastric Cancer.
What is GERD?
After a meal, the muscle at the end of your esophagus known as the esophageal sphincter ordinarily closes to keep food where it’s supposed to be: in your stomach. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD, occurs when the sphincter becomes weak and allows your stomach contents to come back up. The result? That tell-tale burning sensation in the middle of the chest. When someone experiences heartburn on a regular, it can become a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a potentially serious condition that untreated, can ultimately lead to cancer of the esophagus.
In addition to causing heartburn, [GERD] often presents with regurgitation, which is the sense of liquid material moving from the stomach up through the throat. These symptoms frequently occur after eating. If the symptoms are up in your chest and go away with acid-blocking drugs then that’s probably reflux.
The symptoms of GERD include:
- Frequent heartburn (perhaps even daily)
- Pain in the chest or upper abdomen
- Problems swallowing
- Bad breath
- Respiratory problems.
Because these symptoms are often confused with normal GI issues — when stomach cancer is finally diagnosed, it’s often in the advanced stages.
What is Stomach Cancer?
Stomach Cancer occurs when abnormal cells form and multiply in the lining of the stomach. The wall of the stomach is made up of three layers of tissue: the mucosal layer, the muscularis layer, and the serosal layer. Stomach cancer begins in the cells lining the mucosal layer and spreads through the outer layers as it grows. The majority of gastric cancers are adenocarcinomas that begin in the innermost mucosal layer of the organ.
heartburn can be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a potentially serious condition that — if left untreated — can ultimately lead to esophageal cancer.
Stomach cancer is one of those tricky diagnoses where most people may have retrospectively felt symptoms, but they’re usually vague symptoms that can be confused with many other benign gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.
As published on cancer.net “Stomach cancer is usually not found at an early stage because it often does not cause specific symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may be vague and can include those listed below.
These symptoms can also be caused by many other illnesses, such as a stomach virus or an ulcer.”
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting, particularly vomiting up solid food shortly after eating
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Bloating of the stomach after meals
- Loss of appetite
- Sensation of food getting stuck in the throat while eating
Symptoms of advanced stomach cancer may include:
- Weakness and fatigue
- Vomiting blood or having blood in the stool
- Unexplained weight loss
If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please consult a specialist. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help figure out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis. If you have a family history of stomach cancer or lobular breast cancer, or you’ve had this breast cancer, you may need a CDH1 genetic test.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.