With the pleasure of eating becoming a focal point in November, the month also serves as Stomach Cancer Awareness Month. Officially designated in 2010, the month-long campaign aims to raise awareness and support efforts about stomach cancer.

Stomach cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide with one million new cases diagnosed each year. Globally, it’s the third most common cause of cancer death and features an overall five-year survival rate of 29.3%. Nearly two billion was spent on the care of stomach cancer patients in the US alone.

Detecting stomach cancer early is difficult as it typically lacks symptoms. Stomach cancer may not be present if you’re experiencing indigestion, abdominal pain, nausea, or feeling immediate full upon eating, but it’s still a good idea to see a doctor – especially when they are persistent.

Because of its nebulous symptoms, understanding stomach cancer’s risk factors can help discern how imperative it is to see a doctor. Stomach cancer possesses both controllable and uncontrollable risk factors. Behavioral factors include tobacco use, obesity, diets that are high in salt and low in fresh fruits and vegetables, and environmental exposure to dust and fumes. Factors you can’t control include being over 50 years of age, having blood type A, a history of stomach polyps, family history of colorectal cancer or stomach cancer, and race (more prominent among Asians, Hispanics, and African-Americans).

While early detection is tricky, Stomach Cancer Awareness Month’s awareness-building campaigns will hopefully lead to earlier detection, which in turn results in higher long-term survival rates. Additionally, money raised for stomach cancer research will result in improved detection and survival rates. The month’s ultimate goals include: educating people about the disease and its need for additional funding and research, and empowering everyone by uniting the caring power of people worldwide affected by stomach cancer.

Find a way to let people know you have “No Stomach for Cancer” this month and help raise awareness!

Learn more about the Memorial Healthcare Cancer Center.