Listen to Your Gut
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric stomach cancer or gastric cancer, is when malignant cancer cells form in the lining of the stomach. The causes behind stomach cancer development have a lot to do with a person’s age, their diet and if they have a stomach disease like gastric polyps or chronic gastritis. This article looks at the warning signs, symptoms and treatment options like Ayvakit (avapritinib), a prescription medication used for the treatment of adults with unresectable or metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST).
Early Signs of Stomach Cancer
Like any cancer, there are the early signs.
- Heartburn is a mild symptom that can be related to stomach cancer but, on its own, can indicate a poor diet and is often triggered by eating greasy foods or having too many carbonated or alcoholic beverages. It can also be experienced if you eat too much close to bedtime. Heartburn is when the acid in your stomach builds up and enters the esophagus causing it to spasm and cause mild chest pain. This is why heartburn is called heartburn because of the chest pain it can cause but is also referred to as acid reflux due to the acid entering the esophagus.
- Indigestion and stomach discomfort are both signs of stomach cancer. However, they can also be signs of other problems like an ulcer, pancreas insufficiencies or acid reflux disease. Indigestion is more severe than heartburn and usually starts with the feeling of an upset stomach or abdominal pain and can escalate to bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas and an acid taste in your mouth. See a doctor about indigestion if symptoms are severe (i.e., vomiting) or if they last for more than two weeks.
- Bloating after eating can be another sign of stomach cancer, although it is also a sign of indigestion. While bloating can be a sign of so many things, a bloated feeling, even after eating a small meal, is not a good sign and could indicate something else is going on.
- Mild nausea or feeling like you might have to throw up can be a sign of stomach cancer.
- A loss of appetite can be an early sign. This has to do with the cancer cells taking up more space in your stomach, causing it to tell the brain that you are not hungry when, in fact, you may be.
Since these are all early signs of stomach cancer, they can indicate other less serious problems within your body. If you are experiencing these early signs, you must make an appointment with your doctor to check because, as stated earlier, the sooner you catch gastric stomach cancer, the better chance there is of successfully treating it.
Severe Symptoms of Stomach Cancer
Below you will find more severe symptoms that will show up as the cancer progresses.
- Vomiting is something that can happen along with indigestion, but it can also happen if you have stomach cancer and it is progressing. It may also be accompanied by stomach pain or abdominal pain.
- Stomach pain is something that could be accompanied by vomiting. It may progress and get more severe.
- Unexplained weight loss can indicate gastric stomach cancer, as cancer may prevent the stomach from properly digesting food and nutrients that maintain weight. This can be linked to a loss of appetite too.
- Blood in the stool is another sign of stomach cancer. More importantly, you would look for black, not fresh, blood, as the blood would have dried while traveling through your digestive system.
- Trouble swallowing.
- Jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin and eyes, can indicate stomach cancer and other severe medical issues.
- Fluid buildup in the abdomen, which could be mistaken for bloating, is another symptom.
Ayvakit for GIST
Ayvakit (avapritinib) is a prescription medication used for the treatment of adults with unresectable or metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) with a platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRA) exon 18 mutation, including PDGFRA D842V mutations. It's a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which means it works by blocking certain proteins (tyrosine kinases) that are involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells.
When to See a Doctor
As I mentioned above, some of these symptoms are mild and can indicate other conditions that range from mild to severe. If you are only experiencing mild symptoms like heartburn or indigestion, you can take antacids like Tums or Pepto Bismol. If the symptoms persist, you should see a doctor.
The more severe symptoms indicate a chance of having gastric stomach cancer or another severe medical condition. This is why you must visit your doctor if you’re experiencing multiple symptoms, their severity increases or persists.
In situations like unexplained weight loss, jaundice, trouble swallowing and blood in the stool, you should contact your doctor immediately to investigate these symptoms further.
An important factor in finding and treating stomach cancer early is knowing what the symptoms of stomach cancer are and when to see a doctor if you start to present any.
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