While stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, has been on the decline in recent decades, it is still affecting nearly 30,000 people every year in the United States alone. Family caregivers like you should take a little time to learn more about this pervasive type of cancer and how it affects elderly adults.
Several awareness organizations such as No Stomach for Cancer, American Association for Cancer Research Foundation want to teach people as much as they can about stomach cancer. Their main goals are to provide support for patients and their family, educate the public on early symptoms of the disease to promote early diagnosis and help raise money for research of better treatments and hopefully a cure someday.
Not knowing the symptoms of stomach cancer can be particularly devastating to an elderly person. Family caregivers and senior care aides may be the first to notice the symptoms in an aging adult and help them with a visit to the doctor. Since many family caregivers and elderly adults don’t know all that much about stomach cancer, it’s an excellent time to look at some of the frequently asked questions to gain more knowledge:
Q: What is stomach cancer?
A: The walls of the stomach develop cancerous cells that multiply rapidly, causing a tumor. These abnormally growing cells can spread beyond the stomach and affect nearby organs and eventually the rest of the body.
Q: What are early signs and symptoms of stomach cancer?
A: Symptoms of stomach cancer include abdominal pain, feeling bloated after eating, digestive problems, persistent nausea and/or vomiting, reduced appetite, weight loss and fatigue. Of course, since these symptoms are shared with many other health conditions, it’s important to get the elderly person checked out by a doctor anyhow. Whenever family caregivers or senior care assistants notice that these symptoms are not going away or even intensifying, it can be a red flag for stomach cancer.
Q: Which people are most at risk for stomach cancer?
A: Stomach cancer is almost exclusively found in aging adults and it affects more men than women. If someone has a family history of stomach cancer or stomach polyps, that can increase risk. Other risk factors include smoking, obesity, anemia, stomach inflammation and a diet high in salty and smoked food. Certain bacteria like Helicobacter pylori may also trigger stomach problems.
Q: How do doctors treat stomach cancer?
A: Initially, doctors will insert a small camera at the end of a scope into the stomach to get a look and extract a biopsy sample for analysis. After a positive diagnosis of stomach cancer, the doctors usually schedule a surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. This is followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring senior care in Palo Alto, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.