A silent disease, which affects more men over 50 years old. So is stomach cancer, the third most common type in men and the fifth with the highest incidence in women. More recent data from the National Cancer Institute (INCA) indicate that this year more than twenty-one thousand new cases should be diagnosed in Brazil. According to the survey, Sergipe has an estimated rate of 11.37 cases per 100,000 men and 6.64 cases per 100,000 women. Therefore, during this month the Purple September campaign is highlighted in the quest to bring more information to the population about the causes, prevention and treatment of stomach cancer.
For the with the onco-radiotherapist doctor Dauler de Souza, who integrates the clinical staff of Oncoradium – Centro Oncológico de Aracaju, the campaign is essential to make earlier diagnoses, leading to lower morbidity and mortality. “Stomach cancer can be curable if diagnosed early and given adequate treatment, but in Brazil, stomach cancer is still diagnosed in advanced stages most of the time, which justifies the high mortality”, he pointed out.
An aggravating factor for stomach cancer is that it usually has no signs and symptoms. According to Dr. Dauler de Souza, when this occurs, the most common are repeated episodes of indigestion, loss of appetite, difficulties in swallowing, weight loss, abdominal swelling after meals, constant nausea, persistent heartburn and blood in stools or very dark stools.
Another diagnosis that calls attention and is related to stomach cancer is infection with the bacterium H. pylori, which lodges in the stomach or intestine, impairs the protective barrier and stimulates inflammation, which can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain and burning, in addition to increase the risk of developing ulcers.
“Infection with the H. pylori bacteria appears to be one of the main causes of stomach cancer, especially in the lower part of the stomach. Long-standing infection can produce inflammation (chronic atrophic gastritis) and precancerous lesions in the inner lining of the stomach.”
According to Dr. Dauler de Souza, there are some of the risk factors for developing stomach cancer, such as being male, being over 50 years old and maintaining a diet rich in smoked foods, salted fish and preserved meat and vegetables.
Although there is no known cause, certain factors can increase the risk of stomach cancer. They are: overweight and obesity, alcohol consumption, excessive salt consumption, smoking, drinking water with a high concentration of nitrate, precancerous lesions (such as atrophic gastritis and intestinal metallepsy and infections by the bacteria H. pylori), working exposed to various chemical compounds, many classified as carcinogens, such as benzene, mineral oils, coal tar products, zinc compounds and pigments, and a family history of stomach cancer.
According to the onco-radiotherapist doctor, the main types of treatment for stomach cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapy. “In many cases, a combination of these treatments can be used. “, said.
Prevention is key
To reduce the incidence rate and, consequently, mortality due to the disease, going to the doctor regularly is essential. In addition, Dr. Dauler de Souza points out that some behaviors can contribute to warding off stomach cancer.
“There are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing the disease, such as maintaining an adequate weight, practicing physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, reducing alcohol and cigarette consumption and treating H pylor infection”, he advised.
Also according to the onco-radiotherapist doctor, people need to take a preventive and self-care stance in relation to stomach cancer.
“It is very important that the population understands the importance of changing lifestyle habits in order to prevent not only stomach cancer, but also many other cancers. Keeping a life with healthy habits helps to prevent not only stomach cancer, but also to have better health as a whole”, concluded Dr. Dauler de Souza.
Opened in September 2021, Oncoradium – Centro Oncológico de Aracaju is the 10th unit of the Onco Network, a reference group in cancer treatment throughout the country.
Focused on healing and quality of life for patients, Oncoradium – Centro Oncológico de Aracaju has a complete service infrastructure, state-of-the-art technology, highly trained professionals and humanized care.
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