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Author Topic: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer  (Read 547 times)

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Offline Tweenie

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H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« on: January 12, 2014, 08:37:24 PM »
I was diagnosed with H. Pylori in the mid-90s. I started the triple therapy but never finished because of the side effects. I didn't realize back then that H. Pylori was a strong risk factor for stomach cancer. Now, I'm stressed because I'm wondering just how common it is to get stomach cancer from H. Pylori.

My doctor had me do the Urea Breath Test last week so I'm just waiting for the results. I've been having issues with my stomach over the years but I almost feel like I have an ulcer now. I've been taking Ferrous Sulfate for the past 2 months because of anemia but stopped because of stomach pain. These particular issues seemed to coincide with taking the iron supplement.

If anyone has any comments, it would be much appreciated. This has been on my mind daily!!
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Offline Vasallus

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Re: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2014, 09:10:05 PM »
Stomach cancer is extremely rare for anyone under age 60. It is one of the rarer forms of cancer. Just try to relax and wait on your results. :)
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Offline Tweenie

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Re: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2014, 09:21:41 PM »
I thought so too....however, an acquaintance at work was diagnosed and died within 3 weeks. That really got me going. She was my age (51).
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Offline Tweenie

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Re: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2014, 08:31:12 AM »
Well, I got my results yesterday and I am positive for h. Pylori. I immediately went into panic mode. Has anyone gone through the antibiotics to get rid of it? What do doctors say about the cancer risk? I'm freaking out!
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Offline Hypo84

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Re: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2014, 10:48:35 AM »
I had h.pylori, took antibiotics and now I dont have it. A lot of people have it without knowing. Relax, there is nothing to worry about.
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Offline Tweenie

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Re: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2014, 02:09:33 PM »
My health anxiety has been in check for almost a year now and it has reared its ugly head again over this!! I have read that there are no symptoms of stomach cancer until it's in advanced stages. I feel like I have a bubble in my stomach - just under my left rib cage. Very hard to explain but I almost feel like there is something in there. It's not really painful - just annoying and full-feeling. Any ideas?
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Offline Hypo84

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Re: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2014, 09:05:02 PM »
There could be many reasons for your symptoms that are not stomach cancer. Since you have H.P. you should do upper endoscopy and see if you have gastritis, ulcer maybe, and of course finish antibiotics treatment and get rid of it.

Like I said before, many people have H.P. without even been aware of it. Only way they find out is when they get sick. I got gastroduodenitis because of it. Some people never develop problems with it.
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Offline Bunsen112

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Re: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2014, 02:18:05 AM »
I can empathize, because I went through a period last year of having stomach cancer fears. I developed a number of symptoms, including bloating and general discomfort. All of my health care providers assured me it was nothing -- probably just anxiety. Eventually I saw a great GI specialist who was very reassuring. He said (as others have pointed out) that stomach cancer is very rare, and typically occurs in older Asian men. He also noted that people who have stomach cancer experience constant, acute pain. It's not diffuse; it doesn't come and go.

(One of the things he said to me has helped greatly with my overall HA: "Bad things don't come and go. They come and stay.")

And about H. pylori: Yes, having it is a risk factor for stomach cancer. BUT it also appears protect against esophageal cancer. H. pylori literally eats acid. Many people who get treated for it end up with acid reflux and heartburn. (Rates of esophageal cancer have gone up in recent years, possibly because rates of H. pylori infection have gone down.)

I asked my GI specialist if he'd ever been tested for H. pylori, and he said, no; he didn't want to know. Because in the vast majority of people, it causes no harm, and may even provide some benefit.

What was up in my case? Probably a mild case of gastritis, aggravated by anxiety. It resolved itself completely in a few weeks.

You are and will be fine!
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Offline Tweenie

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Re: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2014, 08:19:50 AM »
Thank you for your replies. My doc sees me next week and I know she will be giving me the Meds to get rid of it and I'm not looking forward to that at all. I am beating myself up for not having gotten rid of it when it was discovered. Had I known it was a risk factor for so many things, I would have. That was about 20 years ago and I still wonder what kind of damage I have done.
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Offline annaki

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Re: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2014, 11:01:27 AM »
Don't worry too much! TONS of people have H. Pylori-->I did and did the antibiotics.  They weren't too bad. Just eat lots of yogurt.  The number of people with H. Pylori vs the number of people with stomach cancer is huge.  Have you ever had and upper endoscopy? If so, that will rule it out. but don't get unless doc says you need one!
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Offline Tweenie

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Re: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2014, 01:44:08 PM »
Thank you, Annaki. I haven't had the scope done and I doubt that my doctor will recommend it. We'll see, I guess. What symptoms did you have that prompted you to be tested for HP?

I'm glad you did ok on the antibiotics. Are you feeling totally fine now?
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Offline keywestmama

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Re: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2014, 10:54:57 PM »
Hi Tweenie. Just to give you my experience with H Pylori.. I didn't have any symptoms at all. H Pylori test was just one of the list of tests to  done before getting lapband surgery which I was considering(for weight loss). When the test came back positive, I didn't think or worry too much since I wasn't sick from having "them" in my system. Took antibiotics to get rid of them but it did take 2 tries since the first failed to get rid of all. I do remember the antibiotics being horrible. Ended up with yeast infection to boot.

It's been about 4 years, and there maybe something to the actual beneficial aspect to H Pylori, as I have recently developed symptoms that are similar to GERD. Lots of noise in stomach, early satiety, bloating and a bit of acid reflux etc. I wonder if that's because I had taken antibiotics to get rid of the H pylori.  You have to wonder if H Pylori was SO BAD, why it's not recommended that everybody get tested, right? There is also risk of reinfection after initial treatment though I assume this is rare too. I wouldn't beat myself up for not treating it that 20 some years ago. I was 40 when I first found out I had H pylori and from what I've read the primary infection happens in childhood so who knows how long I had it.

I actually have endoscopy scheduled for next week so we shall see if I actually have H pylori back or if something else is going on.

Good luck to you and like others have said, maybe schedule an EGD to put your mind at ease.

** half of the world population has h pylori infection and only really discovered in 1982. this is still a very new bacteria that medical/research field do not know much about. ie., they don't even know exactly how they're transmitted from person to person. maybe more $ should be focused on studying how this bacterial works and lives in our body.
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Offline Tweenie

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Re: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2014, 08:56:05 PM »
Thanks, Keywestmama. Thanks for sharing your experience. What kind of side effects did you have from the antibiotics? I'm dreading taking them. I feel a little nauseous now so I'm wondering if it will make it worse.

There is so much information on-line now, I get overwhelmed with it and don't know what to think. It's better to hear from people who have actually experienced it.
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Offline Bunsen112

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Re: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2014, 12:50:46 AM »
I'll echo what Key said: A HUGE percentage of the world's population has H. pylori; most people are infected in childhood or adolescence.

Ordinarily, health care providers will not test for H. pylori unless you're having symptoms. My husband was having GI symptoms several years ago. He tested positive for H. pylori and took the antibiotic treatment -- with no trouble at all, you should know. (He was eventually diagnosed with IBS, which has nothing to do with H. pylori; but they had to rule H. pylori out.) Because the spouses/partners of people with H. pylori are highly likely to be infected, I asked my primary care doc if I should be tested. He said no, not, unless you're having symptoms.

So Key is right: Having H. pylori is no reason to worry. It *very slightly* raises the risk of stomach cancer, but it's so slight that it takes an army of statisticians with supercomputers (I exaggerate, but only a little) to find the increased risk. And: Having it may protect you against acid reflux/GERD.

Nature works in fascinating ways: There are very few things that are all good or all bad. Most things carry both risks and benefits. Of course, those of with HA tend to focus only on the risks, even when they are very, very tiny!
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Offline Tweenie

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Re: H. Pylori and Stomach Cancer
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2014, 10:30:52 AM »
Thanks, Bunsen. I think I'm actually making the symptoms worse now. I'm waking up with anxiety in the morning and feeling nauseous. As with every episode of HA, it's never out of my mind. Like your spouse, I also have IBS and have had it for years. My tummy was doing ok until I started taking the iron supplements and that seemed to set everything off for me. If I had known how harsh they were going to be for me, I would have never taken them.

I DO focus on the worst case scenario when I know the stats are low. Isn't that what we do with HA? Why are we wired this way? Ugh!!
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