Early detection is key when it comes to stomach cancer.
Cancer is a terrifying prospect for us all, but when it comes to some types, the outlook can be even more uncertain. Diseases like stomach cancer carry the double threat of being difficult to diagnose in the early stages and very difficult to treat if not found until later. The symptoms of early stomach cancer can be very similar to many other more common and often less threatening gastrointestinal issues. If these symptoms are not thoroughly investigated by a physician, stomach cancer can go undetected for quite a while. Sadly, a failure to diagnose stomach cancer can have dismal consequences.
Often, someone with early stage stomach cancer will have symptoms such as abdominal pain or discomfort, abdominal bloating, indigestion, heartburn, persistent nausea and/or vomiting, unexplained weight loss, blood in stool, ongoing fatigue and loss of appetite. With a quick glance at this list it becomes obvious why complaints of this nature need to be fully investigated, especially in patients age 40 and over. These symptoms are so common among a wide range of medical problems; stomach ulcers, hiatal hernia, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, crohn’s disease, hemorrhoids and other types of cancer, such as colon, can have many of the same symptoms. If a physician runs a couple of tests and finds nothing, or simply just assumes she knows the problem without properly examining all aspects of the problem, the consequences can be deadly.
In the U.S., stomach cancer occurs in about 1 in every 113 people. With proper testing stomach cancer can often be detected early and have a much more positive prognosis. Testing will often include an endoscopy, during which a small camera attached to a thin tube, is run through the mouth and down to the upper intestine so that physicians can get actual pictures of any abnormalities. Anything that is found to be out of the ordinary can then be tested further. Barium X-rays of the stomach and esophagus may also be done, as well a stool testing for the presence of blood. If stomach cancer is found and is at a treatable stage, the patient will likely undergo gastrectomy, which is a removal of the affected area. Chemotherapy and/or radiation will likely follow to try to ensure that the area is completely free of cancer.
It is a very difficult thing to be dealing with an untreatable illness or to have lost a loved one due to a failure to diagnose in a disease’s early stages. Many diseases have a far better survival rate if they are detected early, which is why it is so important to find a meticulous physician who will take your concerns seriously. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a serious illness that was not diagnosed until too late, then you should talk to a qualified cancer misdiagnosis lawyer. We deal with medical malpractice issues and will assess your case free of cost .