It’s always a good time for individuals, families, communities, and organizations shine the spotlight on the devastating disease. The goal of medical professionals, senior organizations, and cancer awareness groups is to help educate as many people as possible about it, such as knowing the signs and symptoms or where to go for support and new information. Family caregivers can take this opportunity to educate themselves about stomach cancer and how it can affect their elderly loved ones.
What is Stomach Cancer?
When cells begin to multiply in the lining of the stomach, the diagnosis is stomach cancer. More than 28,000 cases of stomach cancer are diagnosed every year in the United States. The good news is that stomach cancer rates have been dropping over the last decade. However, for patients that develop cancer and their loved ones, it’s a devastating diagnosis that has long-lasting effects.
Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, primarily affects elderly people. In fact, more than half of all cases each year are diagnosed in people over the age of 65. Because the early symptoms of stomach cancer are very similar to other age-related conditions, it is often quite a while before an aging adult gets the proper diagnosis. Family caregivers and home care assistants are a key part of watching for signs and symptoms of the disease.
What are the Early Symptoms?
The early symptoms of stomach cancer in elderly people include indigestion that doesn’t go away, stomach pain and feeling bloated after eating. Other symptoms include persistent nausea, vomiting, excessive fatigue and unexplained weight loss. Because so many of these symptoms match up with other mild to serious conditions, it’s best for family caregivers to arrange a visit to the doctor for their elderly relative.
Risk Factors for Stomach Cancer
Family caregivers and home care assistants can learn so much during Stomach Cancer Awareness Month, such as what can increase the risk of the disease in elderly adults. Researchers have determined that besides age, there are other things that may boost the chance of someone developing stomach cancer. Risk factors include a family history of stomach cancer, anemia, smoking, eating contaminated foods, chronic stomach polyps and a diet high in salty food and low in fruits and vegetables. Because it isn’t known what causes stomach cancer, doctors don’t have any methods for prevention.
Treating Stomach Cancer in the Elderly
To diagnose stomach cancer, elderly adults need to get to a doctor’s office. The doctor will order imaging tests like CT scans and X-rays to look for clues. They may also use a tiny camera to look inside the person’s stomach and collect tissues for a biopsy. In the early stages of the disease, surgeons can remove any tumors from the stomach or even remove a part of the stomach. In some cases, they remove the entire stomach, depending on how advanced the disease is.
Family caregivers should always pay attention to stomach cancer awareness information because it may give them the information they need to get their elderly relative a lifesaving early diagnosis.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering elderly care in Yorba Linda, CA, contact the caring staff at No Place Like Home Homecare today at 951-382-5266.