Stomach Cancer Awareness Month: Facts, Statistics, and Treatments


Arising almost in any location within the body, cancer is a concerning disease that results from uncontrolled and abnormal cellular growth. According to the American Cancer Society, around 26,000 new stomach cancer cases are diagnosed every year. Stomach cancer, also referred to as gastric cancer, results in approximately 1.5% of initial cancer cases among patients within the United States. With November being the dedicated Gastric Cancer Awareness Month, GastroArkansas is committed to advising people on the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer and how it can be managed.

In the event you or a family member receives a gastric cancer diagnosis, it is imperative to seek out a gastrointestinal (GI) doctor to get the individualized treatment you need. Speak with our team at GastroArkansas in Little Rock, AR to learn more.

What is stomach cancer?

The stomach is an essential organ in the upper abdominal area and is where food is stored and digested. If cancer occurs in the inner lining of any portion of the stomach, it is called stomach cancer or gastric cancer. Cancer is a disease that can arise anywhere in the stomach. Among U.S. patients, however, the condition is most commonly found at the gastroesophageal junction, or the area where the esophagus meets the stomach. Gastric cancer has been decreasing among U.S. patients, but it remains a leading reason for cancer death in other areas of the world.

The signs and symptoms of stomach cancer

Cancer of the stomach is slow growing and may take a year or more to develop. Given that stomach cancer isn't as prevalent among U.S. individuals, there are no official healthcare organizations that suggest routine testing for those with an average risk. During the early stages, cancer of the stomach generally doesn't present any signs or symptoms; however, those who do have symptoms may experience:

  • Pain in the abdomen

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • Decreased appetite

  • Swelling in the abdomen

  • Acid reflux

  • Persistent nausea

Should you or a family member have any of these signs or symptoms, it's vital to seek expert treatment from a Little Rock, AR digestive health specialist for early care. Reach out to GastroArkansas to consult a GI doctor near you as soon as possible.

What are some gastric cancer risk factors?

Certain people are at an increased risk for cancer of the stomach. At times, these risk factors include genetic conditions, like Lynch syndrome. This particular health issue also elevates the likelihood of pancreatic cancer, uterine cancer, and colorectal cancer. Other factors that might make you more likely to develop cancer of the stomach are:

  • Previous stomach surgery

  • Being overweight

  • Being over the age of 55

  • Smoking

  • Being male

  • Drinking alcohol

  • Family history of gastric cancer

  • Work-related exposure

In the event you are at an elevated chance of gastric cancer, please consult one of our Little Rock, AR gastroenterologists about having regular stomach cancer screenings, such as an upper endoscopy. You can arrange to have an upper endoscopy and consult a digestive health specialist by reaching out to GastroArkansas.

What are the treatment options for stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer is mostly addressed via surgical intervention. After the malignant tissue has been removed, radiation treatment and chemotherapy might also be used to help ensure the cancer is less likely to return. In general, there are three predominant surgical options for the removal of cancerous tissue in the stomach:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopic mucosal resection: With this approach, an endoscope is used to remove the malignant area in the stomach.

  • Total gastrectomy: During this surgical procedure, the whole stomach and adjacent lymph nodes are removed, and a new stomach is recreated by the small intestine.

  • Partial (or subtotal) gastrectomy: During this surgical procedure, part of the stomach is removed, and the surrounding structures are reattached. This type of gastrectomy may additionally include taking out surrounding lymph nodes or other tissue.

Get care for gastric cancer in Little Rock, AR

In honor of Stomach Cancer Awareness Month, we're dedicated to helping patients understand their risk factors as they relate to this condition. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, know that expert care is close. GastroArkansas is a physician-led group of GI specialists and a trusted practice in the specialty of gastrointestinal health. Get in touch with our office in Little Rock, AR today to further discover how a GI specialist can help address your healthcare needs.