Cancer of Stomach and Bowel
Cancer of stomach and bowel are more likely to occur after a person reaches forty years of age. Cancer of the stomach may show few it any symptoms at first. Later the patient may complain of abdominal distress which is usually more noticeable after eating, but not necessarily so. Ulcer like pains may also be felt in the upper abdomen.
There may be some loss of appetite and even occasional vomiting with dark brown granules, the so-called “coffee grounds” that usually indicate bleeding in the stomach. Any patient with an unexplained loss of weight should make sure he does not have a hidden malignancy in the gastrointestinal tract or elsewhere. X-ray studies will usually rule out the presence of most forms of cancer, even in the early stages.
Many of the larger ulcers involving the stomach and even some of the smaller ones may be malignant right from the beginning. They must therefore be carefully watched by the family physician. If an X-ray of the stomach shows a large gastritis ulcer which does not heal, a surgical operation should be carried out without further delay.
Malignant growths are rare in the small intestine, which is surprising considering the length of the small bowel and all the numerous activities that are carried on within the large bowel contents move more slowly in the colon, and there is greater opportunity for irritation. As mentioned above, polyps are very common in the large bowel. These small tumors grow on stalks. Most of them are benign, but occasionally one will turn malignant.