Is Bad Breath a Sign of Stomach Cancer?
You’re an oncologist and yet we’ve we’ve learned that your experience with cancer is very personal yes and it really relates this topic as well the topic of unexpected symptoms so one of the symptoms of stomach cancer is actually bad breath the cancer cells put out some molecules that get aerosolized into the breath and cause bad breath and I have a very personal experience with that because my dad died at a very early age at 61 and the first manifestation of his summit summit cancer was bad breath but nobody at all recognized that and when he first told me he had bad breath.
I was like hmm it’s like a big burly strong guy who like wouldn’t worry if he had Bo or something like that I I can’t imagine he’s talking to me about bad breath and his doctors were dismissing and I’m like you better talk to this guy and listen to what he’s talking about figure this out because this is not a person who’s gonna be complaining about trivial bad breath and so so they did and they did were cups and tests were coming back that didn’t make any sense to me and so finally.
I had to get involved in and diagnosing myself and in two days we diagnosed him with regrettably incurable stomach cancer and he died within a month of that so sorry you know and the the time that I jumped in was when he had what is one of the second other symptoms of stomach cancer is what’s called early satiety and as you fill up very quickly like Co and maybe eat half as much as you normally would eat and again.
This is a big burly guy who loved food loved to eat and he was sitting next to me right where you are drew he was sitting next to me and I noticed he left half of the food on his plate and that wasn’t like him that never never so would that would it be fair to say that would be a later symptom but the bad breath if you’re noticing something you’ve never smelled before in a loved one and it’s there all the time you know that potentially would allow you to diagnose the stomach cancer soon enough that it might be more easily treated that’s there to say that’s exactly right most stomach cancers are diagnosed.
when they’re very advanced because they grow along the stomach and they don’t cause enough symptoms or the symptoms are confused with common things like ulcers and reflux which are more common yes so so the bad breath maybe the aerosolization of these molecules may be a way to diagnose it early in fact there are some tests now that actually analyze the breath and are able to do these fingerprints of the molecules in the breath and detect Summitt cancer from other things and so that’s a very important thing dogs.
You’ve all heard the story of dogs being able to techni cancer well they’re able to recognize these unusual scent patterns that come from this and before we go to break you raised a really important topic earlier which is there’s a good chance if you’re going to see a gastroenterology specialist they may be more used to diagnosing peptic ulcer disease and things of those of that nature you’re an oncologist so you’re certainly more used to seeing cancer how do you as an oncologist knowing all this because I know our viewers right now are sitting here thinking how am I going to know if this is even worth advanced testing.
How do you balance the knowledge that all these seemingly innocuous symptoms can be a sign of cancer or symptom of cancer and yet still just enjoy your life how do you how do you know as a viewer right now as a patient okay.
I need to be steadfast i I I don’t think my doctor understands that this bad breath this is something more than I haven’t been brushing my teeth because I’m brushing my teeth how do you how do you do that that’s an excellent question and that actually relates to the story I just told you how my dad and that we all have this interesting superstition that like if something happens that’s shocking in your life like that like losing your dad to stomach cancer is 61 you sort of have this idea when you get to 61 is that going to happen to me right I mean everyone’s thought that so when I got to that age I started you don’t look that old I started oh .
I set up for that thing when I got to that age I was like wow I’m just gonna happen to me so I started asking everybody how’s my breath you know it’s like you know because you’re worried about it so the answer is it’s really about persistence you know your body every person knows their body you know the regular feelings you have and when you have persistent common symptoms but they’re persistent or they come out of nowhere they’re things that you never had before that’s what you need to pay attention to you can’t angst about all these things but doing your regular checkups right going to the doctor.
For your once your physical paying attention getting your skin checked regularly doing all those things that helps you to know that you’re in good status and so if you get then unusual symptoms that’s when you have to and you need to share those with your doctor as silly as they may seem or sound you need to mention them absolutely because this woman say you know saved her own life or or maybe diagnosed her Hodgkin’s disease at an earlier stage than she would have because she said to the doctor what about this lump and you know it’s too bad that the dermatologist didn’t actually do that kind of an exam.
It would have been nice but doctors are very segmented now so you better tell them so that they have all the information can make the best recommendation really appreciate all your advice today and open it up you