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TFW Talks Cancer

Stomach Cancer

A Journey Into Awareness

November marks Stomach Cancer Awareness Month, a time to delve deeper into this condition that affects many around the world. Our commitment to health and education continues as we explore the symptoms, risk factors, prevention, and early detection of stomach cancer. Additionally, Love 2 Food (L2F) shares insights into foods that can contribute to stomach well-being.

  1. Let's Talk Stomach Cancer!

Meet our digestive squad—mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus. They're the superheroes in the journey of our food from yum to bummer (literally!).

Stomach (gastric) cancer is like an unexpected villain in the stomach's tale. It begins in the cells lining our tummy, the left-side hero in the belly, dedicated to digesting our favorite meals.

Stomach Cancer

Picture this journey:

Food Express: Our delicious bites travel from the throat to the stomach via the oesophagus.

Stomach Fiesta: Once inside, stomach muscles and digestive juices throw a wild party, breaking down the food into a mix of awesomeness.

The Adventure Continues: The partly digested food takes a thrilling journey into the small intestine and then the large intestine.

Waste Management: The large intestine, aka the rectum, stores the waste until it's time for a grand exit during the famous bowel movement!

  1. Let's talk Stomach Cancer Squads (types)!

Meet the Adenocarcinomas—the mucus-producing maestros of the stomach! Most stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas, and they have their own drama unfolding:

Gastric Cardia Crew: These stars form in the top inch of the stomach, near the esophagus. It's like the VIP section for adenocarcinomas, where most of them like to hang out.

Non-Cardia Champions: The rebels! They start their journey in all the other sections of the stomach, far from the glamour of the gastric cardia.

Microscopic Storytelling: Adenocarcinomas have two storytelling styles—Intestinal (they look like normal cells) and Diffuse (a bit rebellious, they look different). Diffuse types are speedy growers and trickier to tackle.

Gastroesophageal Junction Jam: Imagine a rock concert where the esophagus meets the gastric cardia—that's Gastroesophageal Junction Adenocarcinoma! It can be treated like stomach or esophageal cancer.

Neuroendocrine Narratives: Neuroendocrine tumors are the storytellers of the gastrointestinal tract. They're like the nerve-hormone combo, controlling digestive vibes.

Stromal Tale: Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) start in nerve cells, playing their role in the stomach's wall. It's like a soft tissue sarcoma—fascinating stuff!

Lymphoma Orchestra: Primary gastric lymphoma is the non-Hodgkin lymphoma performing in the stomach. MALT and Diffuse Large B-cell are the lead acts.

Rare Performances: Squamous cell, small cell, leiomyosarcoma—occasional stars that decide to take the stomach stage.

  1. The Scoop on Stomach Cancer Origins!

So, you're ready for the lowdown on stomach cancer causes? Let's dive into the cellular drama happening in our tummy wonderland!

Cellular Symphony: Stomach cancer kicks off when stomach cells decide to throw a party and grow uncontrollably. It's like a wild concert where cells are headbanging, dividing, and having their own rock and roll.

Risk Factors Unveiled: Not all risk factors directly cause cancer; some just spice up the chances of DNA drama. Some can be changed (like waving goodbye to tobacco), while others are like VIP passes you can't trade, such as age and family history.

Global Cast Call: Stomach cancer loves to make an entrance worldwide! It takes the stage more often in East Asia, Eastern Europe, and South and Central America. But guess what? Anyone, anywhere can join the stomach cancer party.

Demographic Spotlight: In the U.S., stomach cancer is a bit of a socialite, hanging out more with Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native individuals. Males take center stage, being twice as likely to be diagnosed, with Black males facing a tougher encore than their White counterparts.

Age Ain't Just a Number: Stomach cancer doesn't play favorites with age; it can show up at any birthday bash. However, the risk throws a bit of a party as the years roll on.

  1. Risk Factors Gala: Here comes the star-studded lineup of risk factors:

H. pylori Headliner: This bacterial VIP is a major stomach cancer risk factor, spreading through saliva, vomit, or stool. Treatment helps dim the spotlight on stomach cancer.

Medical Conditions Marquee: Chronic atrophic gastritis, Epstein-Barr virus, pernicious anemia, obesity, and GERD—all playing their part in the stomach cancer script.

Genetic Drama: It's a family affair! If you've got relatives with stomach cancer or certain genetic conditions, the risk might rise to stardom.

Diet Dilemmas: A diet low in fruits and veggies or high in salted, smoked, or poorly preserved foods might spice up the stomach cancer storyline.

Tobacco Trouble: Smokers, beware! Tobacco use takes center stage, elevating the risk of stomach cancer. Quitting is like changing the script and lowering the risk over time.

Environmental and Occupational Guest List: Rubber or coal industry workers and those exposed to high radiation levels—their backstage passes might come with an increased risk.

  1. Stomach Cancer: the Sneaky Signs!

Ready to unveil the mysterious world of stomach cancer symptoms? Let's embark on a journey into the belly of the beast, where early signs play hide-and-seek!

Stomach cancer often starts as a silent movie—no symptoms to steal the show early on. The plot thickens when symptoms decide to make an entrance after the cancer's grand spread.

Early-Stage Whispers:When early-stage symptoms decide to show up, they might include:

Indigestion and Belly Ballet: A dance of discomfort and indigestion takes center stage.

Post-Meal Balloon Feeling: Ever feel bloated after a meal? It could be the early signs joining the feast.

Subtle Nausea Vibes: A touch of mild nausea might sneak in, playing its part in the stomach drama.

Appetite's Vanishing Act: Loss of appetite takes a bow, a subtle clue that something might be amiss.

Heartburn Sparks: The fiery sensation of heartburn starts making guest appearances.

Advanced-Stage Drama: As the cancer takes center stage, advanced symptoms crash the party:

Bloody Stool Artistry: A dramatic touch with blood in the stool takes the spotlight.

Vomiting Intrusion: Unwanted guests like vomiting decide to join the stomach drama.

Weight Loss Mystery: Shedding pounds without a known reason—a mysterious twist in the stomach saga.

Stomach Pain: The Ominous Overture: Stomach pain starts playing a more prominent role, demanding attention.

Jaundice's Yellow Symphony: The yellowing of eyes and skin—a symphony of jaundice adds color to the story.

Abdominal Fluid Build-Up Ballet: Ascites, a buildup of fluid in the abdomen, performs a ballet of discomfort.

Swallowing Struggles Ballet: Trouble swallowing takes the stage, hinting at the advanced drama unfolding.

These symptoms might be actors playing multiple roles, not just stomach cancer. Don't let them audition for too long without consulting your doctor. Ignoring the signs could delay treatment effectiveness.

  1. Stomach Cancer Screening!

Ever wondered how we can unveil the secrets of stomach cancer before it takes center stage with symptoms? Let's dive into the world of screening—our detective tool to catch cancer early!

The Screening Symphony

Screening is like a sneak peek into the plot before the symptoms start their performance. Detecting abnormal tissue or cancer early can make treatment smoother.

In the US Scene: Currently, there are no routine screening tests for stomach cancer in average-risk individuals in the US. Researchers are working on potential tests, and if one proves effective, it might become standard.

Who Benefits?

Certain high-risk individuals might benefit from screening, including:

•Older people with chronic gastric atrophy or pernicious anemia.

•People with a family history of stomach cancer.

•Individuals with specific genetic syndromes.

•Those from regions where stomach cancer is more prevalent.

Detective Tool: Upper Endoscopy

For some high-risk cases, upper endoscopy is the star of the show. It involves a thin tube, an endoscope, exploring the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine for abnormalities. Tissue samples may be taken for microscopic examination.

Screening Risks: The Plot Twists

While screening is essential, it comes with potential risks:

False Negatives: The test may wrongly indicate no cancer when it's present, leading to delayed care if symptoms arise.

False Positives: It might suggest cancer when there isn't, causing anxiety and leading to more tests.

Procedure Risks: Upper endoscopy, though rare, could pose serious complications like punctures, heart or breathing issues, lung infections, severe bleeding, or reactions to medications.

Considering stomach cancer screening? Consult your doctor. They'll guide you through the pros and cons, ensuring a well-informed decision tailored to your unique health story.

  1. Stomach Cancer Survival Rates!

Fight ON!

If you're holding questions about the seriousness of stomach cancer and your odds of triumph, let's dive into the realm of prognosis—the crystal ball that foretells the likely journey of your health quest.

The Prognosis Conclave: A Guiding Light Your doctor can delve into the prognosis—the forecast of the cancer odyssey. Feel free to bring a cherished ally along for this vital conversation.

The stomach cancer prognosis hinges on:

  1. Stage of Cancer:

    • Is it confined to the stomach or on an exploration mission beyond, visiting lymph nodes or other territories?

  2. Your Overall Health:

    • Your body's resilience and vitality play a role in shaping the prognosis.

Early Discovery: A Beacon of Hope

Discovering stomach cancer early brightens the prospects of recovery. However, stomach cancer often unveils itself at an advanced stage, making treatment challenging, though not impossible.

Survival Stats: Numbers in the Prognostic Tapestry

Doctors weave the prognosis tapestry using stats compiled over years. One key metric is the 5-year relative survival rate. For stomach cancer, it's 36%, indicating that diagnosed individuals have a 36% chance of being alive five years post-diagnosis compared to those without the condition.

5-Year Relative Survival Rates: A Closer Look

  • 75% for localized stomach cancer (stays in the stomach)

  • 35% for regional stomach cancer (spreads to nearby areas)

  • 7% for metastatic stomach cancer (ventures to distant realms)

Navigating Survival Stats: Roadmap of Understanding

Consider these vital notes when interpreting survival stats:

  1. Individual Uniqueness:

    • No two individuals share the same journey, and responses to treatment vary widely.

  2. Diverse Treatments:

    • Stats gather intel from diverse treatments, not reflecting the specifics of your personalised plan.

  3. Evolution of Treatments:

    • New treatments take years to shape survival stats, so the current data might not mirror cutting-edge therapies.

You're not a statistic; you're a unique story. Your doctor, your narrator, can guide you through this intricate tale and discuss your personalised prognosis.

  1. Nourishing Our Stomachs: A Culinary Odyssey with Love 2 Food

Taking care of our stomach is crucial for staying healthy. The food we choose plays a significant role, especially in preventing issues like stomach cancer.

Everyday foods can contribute to maintaining a strong and happy stomach. They're accessible to everyone and easy to include in our meals.

Let's explore a list of these stomach-friendly foods and understand why they're beneficial.

• Yogurt:

Why: Yogurt has good things called probiotics that keep our stomachs working well. They're like little helpers for our digestion!

• Bananas:

Why: Bananas are easy on our stomachs and give us important stuff our bodies need. They're like a yummy and healthy snack!

• Ginger

Why: Ginger is like a superhero for our stomachs. It helps when our stomach feels upset and can make it feel better.

• Oats:

Why: Oats help our stomachs work smoothly because they have good things called fiber. It's like a gentle helper for our digestion.

• Peppermint:

Why: Peppermint is like a cool friend for our stomachs. It can make our stomachs feel nice and relaxed, especially when they're a bit upset.

• Brown Rice:

Why: Brown rice is like a strong supporter for our stomachs. It gives us energy in a good way and helps our digestion.

• Chamomile Tea:

Why: Chamomile tea is like a cozy blanket for our stomachs. It helps them relax and feel better, especially when we're stressed.

• Papaya:

Why: Papaya has special things that help our stomach break down food. It's like a digestive superhero!

• Leafy Greens (Spinach, Kale):

Why: Leafy greens are like a vitamin boost for our stomachs. They give us lots of good stuff that our stomachs love.

• Lean Proteins (Chicken, Fish):

Why: Lean proteins are like strong builders for our stomachs. They give us important things without making our stomachs work too hard.

A big thanks to Love 2 Food for helping us with healthy food tips.

  1. Spreading Awareness with Tutti Frutti Women

Share your journey, inspire others, and remind everyone to stay proactive about their health.

Remember, early detection and a healthy lifestyle play crucial roles in preventing and managing stomach cancer. Let's keep shining a light on health, supporting one another, and fostering a community of well-being.

As we navigate through this awareness month, let's continue sharing knowledge, supporting those affected, and fostering a community that cares.

  1. 🎬 Weekend Watchlist: "Ikiru"

Looking for a moving and inspiring film for your weekend? Discover Ikiru.

Kanji Watanabe is a civil servant. He has worked in the same department for 30 years. His life is boring and monotonous, though he once used to have passion and drive. Then one day he discovers that he has stomach cancer and less than a year to live. After the initial depression he sets about living for the first time in over 20 years. Then he realises that his limited time left is not just for living life to the fullest, but to leave something meaningful behind.

Stay healthy, stay aware, stay Tutti Frutti!

Please note: The information provided in this newsletter is for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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