October 31, 2017

November is Stomach Cancer Awareness Month



November is stomach cancer awareness month. I feel there's very little awareness about this horrible disease. Unfortunately it can go undetected (and show no symptoms) until it's in the final stages, which is what happened to my late husband. He was 34 and a perfectly healthy guy and one day to the next he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Stomach Cancer.

I thought I'd share a few symptoms and facts in the hopes it might help someone or someone you know.

Symptoms: 

Bloating: Persistent bloating can be a symptom of stomach cancer. This was actually the first symptom my husband presented along with fluid in the stomach.

Ascites: Abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen. It can cause bloating and weight gain. The combination of bloating and jaundice (which turns the eyes and skin yellow), can also be a sign of stomach cancer.

Severe abdominal pain

Unexplained weight loss

Loss of appetite Indigestion/ diarrhea

Nausea and vomiting

Stomach cancer can happen to anyone. I use to think that because cancer did not run in my family or my late husband's family it wouldn't affect us, but only 5%-7% of cancers are actually hereditary. Fernando had genetic testing done and it found that his cancer was NOT hereditary. He never smoked or drank either.  The rest can be caused by several factors such the environment (being exposed to toxins), stress (by lowering your immune system), hormones, the food we eat, and viruses to name a few.

Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori): There have been studies that show that H. Pylori is a strong risk factor for certain types of stomach cancer. H Pylori occurs when a type of bacteria infects your stomach. This usually happens during childhood. If you have H. Pylori get it treated right away.

If you have persistent symptoms, request an endoscopy screening (with a biopsy). It wasn't until Fernando had an endoscopy that they were able to diagnose his stomach cancer. If you are not getting the answers you need, trust your body and what it is trying to tell you. Be persistent. If something doesn't feel right, get it checked right away.

Remember guys, we only have one body. It is our temple and we need to take care of it. Never take your health for granted. If you woke up today and you're breathing, you already have so much to be grateful for.


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