Know the Reasons for Stomach Cancer in the Elderly
Let's talk about the stomach cancer today!
Cancer of the stomach affects mainly middle-aged and elderly people and is more common among men than women. Its early diagnosis is difficult; this is particularly unfortunate as it can be permanently cured only by radical surgery before metastasis has occurred. Clearly the risk that the cancer will spread will increase according to the length of time before the diagnosis is confirmed.
Most patients with cancer of the stomach complain of pain when they eat, and experience nausea, vomiting, anorexia, and severe loss of weight, with the result that they may be badly malnourished before their operations. Enteral feeding may be helpful in order to improve their nutritional status before surgery, patients may be able to tolerate a fine-bore nasogastric tube.
If surgery is possible a total or partial gastrectomy may be performed on a patient. The extent of this surgery will depend on the extent and location of the lesion: in some instances a very radical reconstruction of his or her gastrointestinal tract may be necessary, and this may require the patient to adjust eating habits considerably after the operation. Immediately after surgery it is likely that the patient will receive parenteral nutritional support, followed by the gradual introduction of fluids and soft, semi-solid, and solid foods as recovery gradually progresses. As the patient is very likely to be malnourished before surgery and as the stomach volume will inevitably be reduced afterwards, it is important to provide nutrients in a concentrated form. The use of high-protein and high-energy supplements is particularly important for these patients.