Gastric (stomach) cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lining of the stomach. The stomach is in the upper abdomen and helps digest food.
Almost all gastric cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). Other types of gastric cancer are gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and lymphomas.
infection with bacteria called H. pylori is a common cause of gastric cancer.
Gastric cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage because there are no early signs or symptoms.
Most Stomach (Gastric) cancers do not cause any symptoms until they have spread too far to be cured, but sometimes, we do get symptoms at an early stage.
- Indigestion and stomach discomfort.
- A bloated feeling after eating.
- Mild nausea.
- Loss of appetite.
- Blood in the stool.
- Weight loss for no known reason.
- Stomach pain.
- Ascites (build-up of fluid in the abdomen).
- Trouble swallowing.
These symptoms are more likely to be caused by conditions other than Stomach (Gastric) cancer. Still, it’s important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
Risk factors for gastric cancer include the following:
- Medical conditions:
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection of the stomach.
- Chronic gastritis >inflammation of the stomach.
- Pernicious anemia.
- Intestinal intestines.
- Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or gastric polyps.
- Eating a diet high in salted, smoked foods and low in fruits and vegetables.
- Eating foods that have not been prepared or stored properly.
- Being older or male.
- Smoking cigarettes.
- Having a mother, father, sister, or brother who has had stomach cancer.
If you have any of the above symptoms, please get yourself checked. It may be noting, but it’s best to be sure!
Stomach cancer can be prevented to an extent by avoiding the risk factors.
Cancer has different stages, each depicted by a Roman numeral from 1 to 4 (I, II, III and IV). Stage I is the first stage where the tumor is still small while at Stage IV, the patient’s condition is said to be critical because the tumor has spread to other organs of the body. Hence, a cancer’s stage refers to the tumor’s size and extent of spread. This is the simplest form of staging.
In Stomach (Gastric) cancer, the stage depends on whether it is confined to Stomach (Gastric) s (localized cancer, Stage I) or whether it has spread to other organs (metastatic cancer).
The stage decides the kind of treatment you need to get. The greater the stage number, the more complex the treatment.
Needless to say, if the stomach cancer is detected while it is still in Stage I, survival rate is higher. The rate decreases progressively with the increase in stage. Stage III is considered critical, while stage IV is, more often than not, fatal.
However, medicine is evolving everyday to meet these challenges and to keep you happy, healthy and alive!
Unfortunately, there is no standard or routine screening test for stomach cancer. However, the following tests are usually useful.
- Physical exam and Genetic & Medical history
- Blood chemistry studies
- Complete blood count (CBC):
- Upper endoscopy: A procedure to look inside the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum to check for abnormal areas.
- CT scan (CAT scan)
- Biopsy: Includes tests like Immunohistochemistryand FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization).
The prognosis and treatment options depend on the following:
- The stage of the cancer.
- The patient’s general health.
There is a better chance of recovery on early detection. However, the Cancer is usually in an advanced stage when it is diagnosed. In such cases, it can be treated, but rarely cured.
This is dependent on te stage the Cancer has reached. However, the Cancer is usually in an advanced stage when it is diagnosed. In such cases, it can be treated, but rarely cured.
If you have any of the symptoms, please do visit the doctor.
If you feel any of the symptoms mentioned in the Symptoms section , you should probably visit a doctor. You can also get your genetic make-up checked to see if you are prone to Stomach (Gastric) cancer or not.