Study: Stomach cancer rate is on the rise and affecting younger people

One of the many frustrating things about cancer is that there are so many types of it. This fact makes it tough for researchers to find “a cure” for cancer, because each type of cancer works differently and requires a different treatment.

Some cancers are random about what age of person they plague, while others are thought to target older people. This conventional medical wisdom is evolving, though.

Take stomach cancer (gastric cancer), which is a type of cancer that begins in the inner lining of the stomach and grows into a tumor. It usually grows gradually over years.

Oncology experts have historically seen most stomach cancer cases diagnosed in patients in their late 60s and 70s.  

A new study, though, published in the peer reviewed journal Surgery found a dramatic increase in the number of patients diagnosed with stomach cancer in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Plus, the average severity (staging) for younger patients (younger than 60 years old) diagnosed with stomach cancer is worse than those over 60 years old.

It’s also concerning that the study found that the incidence rate for stomach cancer decreased from the 1970s through the 1990s, but then suddenly took a U-turn and increased by 1.5% from 1995 to 2013.

Signs and symptoms of stomach/gastric cancer

There’s currently no screening test for stomach cancer, so it’s important to be aware of your body and look out for these signs and symptoms:

• Feeling full

• Heartburn

• Nausea and vomiting

• Unintended weight loss

• Abdominal pain

Because these signs and symptoms are rather broad, some people may think they have a common cold or might just ignore them as being a part of getting older.

What’s critical is to be in tune with your body so you’re familiar with your baseline health status. When you recognize something new, like one or more of these signs and symptoms, it’s time to consider seeing a doctor to get checked out.

People with known risk factors should be particularly on the lookout. Stomach/gastric cancer risk factors include: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, gastritis, pernicious anemia, and a history of polyps.

While it’s a patient responsibility to seek medical attention when there are new abnormal signs and symptoms, it’s the role of a physician to do a complete workup to rule out stomach cancer. When a doctor ignores or downplays a patient’s complaints and skips that workup, it may be medical malpractice, and can lead to a delay in diagnosis and treatment. And, like other cancers, the sooner treatment begins, the better the odds are for a cure.

If this has happened to you or someone you care for, then contact a top-rated experienced Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer for a free professional evaluation of your potential case.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.