Diagnosis Of Stomach Cancer
If your doctor thinks you may have stomach cancer, you will be referred for further tests. The main test is an endoscopy . The doctor will use a thin, flexible tube with a camera , which passes into the mouth, down the throat and oesophagus into the stomach in order to look at the digestive tract.
If any suspicious-looking areas are detected, a small amount of tissue from the stomach lining may be removed and examined under a microscope. Less commonly used is an endoscopic ultrasound where the endoscope has an ultrasound probe at the end.
What Are Late Effects
Most women have side effects during treatment for breast cancer and for a few weeks after treatment ends. Usually, these side effects get better slowly and then stop. But sometimes side effects do not go away. Or they can develop months or years after treatment.
There are two commonly used terms for these side effects:
- Long-term effects Long-term effects begin during, or shortly after, treatment. They last for more than 6 months after treatment has finished. They may go away on their own, with symptoms getting better over 1 or 2 years after treatment. Or they may be permanent.
- Late effects Late effects are a delayed reaction to treatment. They do not appear during treatment, but can happen months or even years later.
In this information, we use the term late effects to describe both long-term and late effects.
Causes Of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer is caused by changes in the cells of the stomach, although it’s unclear exactly why these changes occur.
Cancer begins with a change in the structure of the DNA in cells, which can affect how they grow. This means cells grow and reproduce uncontrollably, producing a lump of tissue called a tumour.
Left untreated, cancer can spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymphatic system .
Once the cancer reaches your lymphatic system, it’s capable of spreading to other parts of your body, including your blood, bones and organs.
It’s not known what triggers the changes in DNA that lead to stomach cancer and why only a small number of people develop the condition.
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Managing Pain Related To A Tumor
Surgery, radiation therapy and breast cancer drug therapies may be used to shrink the tumor, so it no longer injures nerves, presses against the spinal cord or causes injury to other organs or tissues.
Surgery can also be used to prevent or control problems such as a blockage in the bowel and the pain the blockage causes.
While youre waiting for the drug therapies to work, or if no treatments are shrinking your tumor, your pain can still be treated with medications .
If needed, an anesthesia pain specialist can sometimes inject a drug that combines an anesthetic and a steroid into or around a nerve to block pain.
In some cases, the specialist injects this drug combination or a combination of anesthetics and opioids into the fluid around the coverings of your spinal cord or into the spinal fluid itself to block the pain .
Are Stomach Cancer Symptoms Different In Males Vs Females
Stomach cancer is more common in men than in women, but the symptoms are the same regardless of gender.
In 2022, its projected that there will be roughly 26,380 new cases of stomach cancer in the United States, with 15,900 cases among men and 10,480 cases among women, according to statistics from the American Cancer Society. About 11,090 people are estimated to die from stomach cancer in 2022 . Globally, the higher rates in men begin to appear after age 45 and are especially apparent in those in the 65-to-69 age bracket.
In the United States, the National Cancer Institute is watching shifting trends in stomach cancer, and a new type of gastric cancer is on the rise especially in women, possibly due to their higher intake of antibiotics.
Stomach cancer treatment: The care you need is one call away
Your multidisciplinary team will work with you to develop a personalized plan to treat your stomach cancer in a way that fits your individual needs and goals.
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Side Effects Of Chemotherapy For Breast Cancer
Like any treatment, chemotherapy can cause side effects. Everyone reacts differently to drugs and some people have more side effects than others. These side effects can usually be managed and those described here will not affect everyone.
Your treatment team will give you information about the drugs you are having, details of any side effects they may cause and how these can be controlled or managed.
Before starting chemotherapy you should be given a 24-hour contact number or told who to contact if you feel unwell at any time during your treatment, including at night or at the weekends.
Between each cycle of chemotherapy, youll have an assessment to see how youre feeling and whether youve had any side effects.
If you are concerned about any side effects, regardless of whether they are listed here, talk to your treatment team as soon as possible.
Side Effects Of Chemotherapy And How To Deal With Them
Story submitted by Sue Weber, RN, MEd, OCN, TriHealth Cancer Institute
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Chemotherapy affects any fast-growing cells in the body, like the ones that line your mouth and intestines, as well as the cells that make up your bone marrow and hair follicles, With chemo, normal, healthy cells should bounce back and, ideally, the cancer cells dont. Chemo may be used to:
- Cure the cancer
- Prevent the cancer from spreading
- Relieve symptoms the cancer may be causing
Sue Weber, RN, MEd, OCN, of the TriHealth Cancer Institute, explains common side effects of chemo and ways to deal with each.
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Bloating And Cancer Treatment
Its one thing to feel overly full after a large celebratory meal, but unfortunately, for many patients in cancer treatment, bloating doesnt just come with a holiday, but instead is an unpleasant side effect of cancer therapy. Uncomfortable fullness after meals, or bloating, may be caused by a variety of reasons including decreased exercise due to fatigue, taking in too much air while eating or eating gas-producing foods.
Bloating also can be caused when the movement of food through the digestive tract slows as a result of cancer treatments, including gastric surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or other medications. The bloating associated with chemotherapy is often referred to as chemo belly. Whatever the cause, the discomfort is universally unwelcome. The good news is that this is a temporary condition which will improve. In the meantime, try the following strategies to help yourself feel better:
Medications For More Severe Bone Pain
Tramadol, tapentadol or opioids can be added if the ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen alone dont relieve your pain.
Side effects of tramadol, tapentadol and opioids include sleepiness and nausea. Most often, these side effects go away after about a week. If they dont, tell your health care provider. These side effects can be treated.
Tramadol, tapentadol and opioids can cause constipation, so you may need to make some changes in your diet or take medications to promote regular bowel movements. To manage constipation, your health care provider may recommend you:
- Eat high-fiber foods, such as fruits and vegetables
- Drink plenty of liquids
- Take a soluble fiber supplement
- Use a mild laxative, such as Senna, or a stronger laxative, such as polyethylene glycol
If you dont have a bowel movement within 4 days of taking the recommended laxatives, tell your health care provider.
If youre prescribed opioid medications, your health care provider will carefully monitor the amount prescribed so you dont take too much.
You may also be given a bone-strengthening drug therapy to relieve pain.
Learn more about opioids.
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Simple Changes To Help Improve Your Appetite
- Try eating small amounts throughout the day rather than sitting down to large meals at set times.
- Explain to friends and family why youre not eating big family meals. Make it clear that this is a positive strategy rather than a sign you are not eating enough.
- Make it easy to eat. Stock up on nourishing foods that are easy to prepare, ask others to prepare food for you, or use healthy, ready-prepared foods when you are too tired to cook.
- Reduce food and cooking smells turn on a fan or open the windows.
- Where possible, choose nutritious foods you enjoy but dont force yourself to eat things you dont fancy just because theyre good for you.
- Keep a glass of water handy if your mouth is dry, but restrict yourself to small sips too much water may make you feel full. You could also try sucking on small ice cubes.
- Dont rush, and dont force yourself to eat.
- If you are finding it difficult to eat solid food, drink protein and carbohydrate mixes for energy, protein and vitamins.
- Soft foods may be more appealing if your mouth is dry or sore. Try soft, slow-cooked stews and soups, custards and yoghurts.
People who eat a quality, balanced diet dont generally need supplements. However, when you have cancer, problems with appetite may mean your diet isnt as balanced as it could be. Daily multivitamin and mineral supplements might help improve your appetite. Your doctor, pharmacist or dietitian will be able to help you find the most appropriate ones for you.
How Long Do You Stay Sick After Chemo
Delayed nausea and vomiting usually starts more than 24 hours after treatment and can last up to a few days after treatment ends. Its more likely with certain types of chemo or other drug to treat cancer. Ask your doctor if the treatment youre getting is known to cause delayed nausea and vomiting.
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Managing Cancer Pain At Home
Each patient needs a personal plan to control cancer pain, and that plan needs to be able to work for you and your family.
When people say they are having pain, it usually means theyre hurting somewhere. But it can also mean that they just cant get comfortable. They could be feeling bad in general, not in any one place. The pain can feel worse if a person is sad, anxious, or depressed. Some people have a hard time talking about their pain. Its important that you tell your cancer team about any pain you have and to describe it the best way you can.
Palliative Care And Pain Specialists
Palliative care and pain specialists treat pain from cancer or other causes. They treat people with metastatic breast cancer as well as those with early breast cancer.
Palliative care specialists have special training in treating pain and other symptoms, including fatigue, anxiety and depression. They work with the oncology team to help people maintain the best quality of life possible and help you and your family identify your hopes and worries.
They also help people weigh the burdens and benefits of different cancer treatments.
Palliative care specialists can also help with advance care planning. This planning helps people identify their personal values and goals that should guide their care.
With metastatic breast cancer, these discussions are especially important. Your oncologist will often be a part of the discussion with you and the palliative care specialist.
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Concentration And Memory Problems
After treatment for breast cancer, some women have difficulties concentrating and remembering things. Doctors call this cognitive impairment.
An early menopause may result in similar symptoms, or make them worse.
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Managing Symptoms And Side Effects
Breast cancer and its treatment can cause a number of symptoms and side effects. The greatest influence on the type of symptoms and side effects that you experience will be the sites your cancer has spread to and the type of treatment you are having. Other factors such as your general health and wellbeing will also play a part in how your symptoms may affect you.
Read BCNA’s My Journey online tool article Managing symptoms and treatment side effects for more information.
The following section also provides information on managing a wide range of symptoms and side effects. Remember, everyone is different and you are unlikely to experience all of these symptoms or side effects. Some people experience very few or have only mild side effects or symptoms.
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Treatment For Chemotherapy Side Effects
The National Cancer Institute urges people undergoing chemotherapy to talk with their healthcare providers about their side effects and how best to manage them.
While some remedies may benefit people undergoing chemotherapy, others may interfere with standard treatment or cause harm when combined with chemotherapy. Self-treating and avoiding or delaying standard care can have serious consequences. Therefore, if you’re considering the use of any natural therapy in the treatment of chemotherapy side effects, it’s extremely important to consult your healthcare providers.
How Is Abdominal Pain Managed
Management of abdominal pains depends on their cause. Since there are many possible causes, some of which can be life-threatening, you should notify your doctor immediately if you have abdominal pain.
For mild abdominal pain related to digestive problems, over-the-counter medications, including Maalox®, Mylanta®, Pepto-Bismol® and TUMS®, may provide some relief. However, these only treat the symptoms of abdominal pain, not the cause. For lasting relief, you should try to alter your diet in a way that helps either slow or speed the intestinal activity. See the sections on diarrhea and constipation for more information.
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How Stomach Cancer Spreads
There are 3 ways stomach cancer can spread:
- directly the cancer can spread from the stomach into nearby tissues and organs, such as the pancreas, colon, small intestine and peritoneum
- through the lymphatic system the lymphatic system is a series of glands located throughout your body, similar to the blood circulatory system the glands produce specialised cells needed by your immune system to fight infection
- through the blood which can cause the cancer to spread from the stomach to other parts of the body, most commonly the liver
Stomach cancer that spreads to another part of the body is known as metastatic stomach cancer.
Swollen Heavy Arms Or Hands
If youâve had lymph nodes removed from your armpit or chest during breast cancer surgery or radiation, you’re more likely to get lymphedema, a buildup of fluid in the fatty tissues just under the skin in those areas.
To lower your odds of getting this condition, try to avoid cuts, burns, constriction, and muscle strain on your affected side.
- Have blood draws, shots, and blood pressure checks on the opposite side if possible.
- Wear protective gloves when doing housework and cooking.
- Use antibiotic cream on scratches.
- Wear compression sleeves on long plane flights.
- Avoid heavy lifting on your affected side.
If you already have lymphedema, ask your doctor to recommend a specially trained physical therapist who can ease the swelling and give you compression garments, special bandages, and exercises to do.
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Second Cancers After Breast Cancer
Breast cancer survivors can be affected by a number of health problems, but often a major concern is facing cancer again.
If this happens, its most often the result of the breast cancer coming back after treatment. This is called a breast cancer recurrence. But some cancer survivors develop a new, unrelated cancer later on. This is called a second cancer.
Women whove had breast cancer can still get other cancers. Although most breast cancer survivors dont get cancer again, they are at higher risk for getting some types of cancer.
The most common second cancer in breast cancer survivors is another breast cancer. The new cancer can develop in the opposite breast, or in the same breast for women who were treated with breast-conserving surgery .
Depending on which types of cancer treatment they received , some breast cancer survivors might also be at higher-than-average risk for:
- Salivary gland cancer
- Acute myeloid leukemia
Of course, breast cancer survivors can get other types of cancer as well.
The increased risk for these cancers can be due to a number of factors, including genetic risk factors and the use of some types of breast cancer treatments. For example:
Chemotherapy Via Iv Line
During this procedure, which takes only 1 to 2 minutes, a medical professional inserts a needle into a vein in your hand or wrist.
The needle contains a thin plastic tube called a catheter, which allows the drugs to flow directly into your bloodstream. Once the catheter is in place, the needle is removed.
You might feel a mild prickling sensation at the site where the IV is inserted. This should go away shortly after the professional removes the needle and secures the catheter in place.
Most people experience little to no discomfort when having an IV inserted.
The professional will remove the catheter when the treatment is over. In some cases, its left in for up to 3 days.
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