HMH Newsletters and Provider Health Columns
Sometimes, indigestion is just indigestion, but when it persists for several weeks, it may be something more.
World-wide, stomach cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. With November being “Stomach Cancer Awareness Month”, I’m encouraging you to discuss hereditary diseases like stomach cancer and healthy eating decisions while you’re gathered around the Thanksgiving dinner table with family this year.
Research shows that stomach cancer has a high correlation to diets based on smoked, salted and pickled foods. Thankfully, as the rate of refrigeration has increased throughout the world, cases of stomach cancer have decreased. However, it is still important to recognize the hallmarks of this aggressive cancer and seek treatment sooner than later.
In the early stages, stomach cancer exhibits vague symptoms such as indigestion, heartburn, stomach pain and bloating. Individuals may also experience a full feeling after only eating a small or moderate meal. As the cancer impacts the body’s ability to digest food, 70-percent of patients will experience a soreness in their upper abdomen. Eventually this leads to stomach bleeding and black stools. In the late stages, the pain moves to the lower abdomen along with difficulty swallowing, regurgitation of food and diarrhea/ constipation.
In short, eat your fruits and veggies and avoid excess salty, smoked and pickled foods. Also, kick the cigarette smoking habit and be checked for stomach polyps if you are experiencing pain. Haskell’s Low Dose Radiation CT Scan machine can run a scan on your abdominal cavity to give us initial imaging and access a painful situation you might be having. While we hope its just indigestion, its better to get things checked-out than to wait-it-out.
Dr. McSmith attended Medical School in Pomona, CA and completed his residency at Tucson General Hospital in Tucson, AZ where he began his practice. In 1987, he and his family moved to Haskell where he has served as a D.O. for 28 years.