The Original Kryzayda: A Millennial's Battle with Stomach Cancer
Last weekend I was scrolling through my Instagram stories as I normally like to do when I’m procrastinating. I kept seeing my favorite beauty bloggers posting pictures of beautiful, young and vibrant woman. Many of them were saying rest in peace. Was she actually gone? I couldn’t believe that such a young, vibrant looking person passed away. I wanted to know who she was.
Kryzayda Rodriquez (@kryzayda_), a fashion blogger who was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer less than a year ago, just recently passed away. “Stomach cancer?” I thought. “There’s no possible way”. She looked like me. She had a young child. I couldn’t believe that something like stomach cancer could take someone away in their 30s.
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, has multiple different types ,the most common being gastric adenocarcinoma. Adenocarinomas develop in the lining of the stomach and can slowly grow over several years. It’s relatively rare, only about 26,200 people in the year 2018 are expected to be diagnosed. Risk factors for stomach cancer include being a male, over the age of 50, a person of color (minorities have a higher incidence of stomach cancer than do non-Hispanic whites), smoker, obese, and have had H. Pylori infection. H. Pylori is a bacteria that commonly causes irritation to the stomach lining that commonly causes stomach ulcers.
As physicians, we like to be able to screen for different types of cancer, as we do for breast and colon. However, since stomach cancer is relatively rare, there are no screenings available. Most people are not diagnosed until they start presenting with signs and symptoms of stomach cancer.
In its early stages, someone may have no symptoms. As the cancer progresses, they may complain of very non-specific symptoms such as:
Unintentional weight loss
Belly pain or discomfort
Feeling full after small meals
Heartburn or indigestion
Vomiting, with or without blood
Each of these symptoms could be caused by a multitude of other conditions that are more common than stomach cancer. The person would likely be evaluated for the more common conditions and then referred for further testing, which could include upper endoscopy and biopsy.
I’m not sure of the specifics of Kryzayda’s journey with stomach cancer and how she was diagnosed. Scrolling through her Instagram, she went through this journey with grace and elegance. Although Kryzayda passed away, there may still be hope for patients with gastric cancer. The key is early detection. It’s important if you have any of the symptoms above, you should see your primary care doctor for further evaluation.