Stomach Cancer Awareness Month is a public health and awareness campaign for raising awareness of the deadly disease. It also provides much needed information regarding stomach cancer to patients, their families, people who care for them and health care professionals. Stomach cancer is a serious disease and it is the third leading cause of cancer death in the world. There are more than one million new cases of stomach cancer diagnosed every year and approximately 70% of them will die from the disease.
The public awareness campaign aims to educate the general public about stomach cancer including its symptoms, risk factors and other important information. Scientists still do not know why cancer cells start growing in the stomach. However, there are a few things that are known to increase risk for the disease like H. pylori infection which causes ulcers. Gut inflammation or gastritis, long-term anemia and growths in the stomach (polyps) also increase risk of getting stomach cancer.
Other things that can raise stomach cancer risk:
- Being overweight or obese
- A diet high in processed food items (salty, smoked, pickled, etc.)
- Having undergone stomach surgery for an ulcer
- Type-A blood
- Certain genes
- Epstein-Barr virus infection
- Working in metal, coal, timber or rubber industries
- Asbestos exposure
Here are the early symptoms of stomach cancer:
- Feeling bloated after eating meals
- Appetite loss
- Slight nausea
These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have stomach cancer but if you have high risk of developing it, consult your health care provider regarding your cancer risk.
Here are the more serious symptoms of stomach cancer when the stomach tumors have already grown:
- Severe, chronic stomach pain
- Bloody stools
- Weight loss for no reason
- Difficulty swallowing and eating
- Yellowish eyes or skin
- Swelling in the stomach
- Constipation of diarrhea
- Lethargy, weakness or feeling tired
Purpose of Stomach Cancer Awareness Month
The main purpose of the public health and awareness campaign is to raise awareness about stomach cancer. It also supports efforts in educating people about stomach cancer including risk factors, early detection and prevention. It also recognizes the need for additional research and the importance of funding in order to improve survival rates for people with stomach cancer.
Stomach Cancer Awareness Month also aims to raise funds for stomach cancer research. This is in order to find new treatments and diagnosis techniques to improve success rate for treating people with stomach cancer. It also encourages people and relevant organizations to create special programs or activities for promoting public awareness of and possible treatments for stomach cancer. The public awareness campaign also empowers everyone by uniting the caring power of people from all over the world who are in any way affected by stomach cancer.
What You can do on Stomach Cancer Awareness Month?
- Post something or tweet about stomach cancer
- Distribute informative materials about stomach cancer
- Display Stomach Cancer Awareness Month posters in public areas
- Donate to organizations associated with stomach cancer research
- Organize an activity like a fundraising event in your community
- Contact your local media outlets and urge them to help raise stomach cancer awareness
- Inform your legislators of the importance of stomach cancer research
Message on Stomach Cancer Awareness Month
Greater awareness and knowledge of stomach cancer is important for improving survival rates. Thus, stomach cancer research is also very important and the key is getting enough funds. Everyone must work together for the ultimate purpose of improving survival rates from stomach cancer and eventually finding a cure.
Special Tips on Stomach Cancer Awareness Month
- Treat gastrointestinal problems – if you suffer from persistent stomach problems you should seek medical help. If you have ulcers associated with H. pylori infection and do not get immediate treatment, your risk of stomach cancer is increased significantly.
- Eat Healthy – Your diet should be composed mostly of unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables. Minimize consumption of salty, cured and other processed foods.
- Keep your weight at a healthy level – Excess weight increases stomach cancer and diabetes risk
- Do not smoke – Tobacco use increases stomach cancer risk considerably
- Control aspirin and NSAID use – discuss with your health care professional how these drugs can affect your stomach
Stomach Cancer Awareness Month encourages everyone (patients, families, health care professionals, organizations, businesses, etc.) to work together and improve awareness of the deadly form of cancer. It is also a reminder of the importance of continuous research in order to find better ways to treat people with the disease and eventually find a cure. This is also the time for talking about the ways stomach cancer can be prevented.