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Home > Symptom > Stomach Cancer

Stomach Cancer

Stomach Cancer

Overview of Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer begins with cancer cells forming in the inner lining of your stomach. A tumour can grow from those cells, and it often occurs slowly. The disease mostly affects people past middle age - about 67 years old (on average) for women, and about 74 years old for men.

Almost all stomach cancers start in the tissue that lines the stomach. The tumor can leak into other organs, like the intestines, lungs, and liver.

What is Stomach Cancer?

Gastric cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the stomach. The stomach is located in the upper part of the middle of your belly, just near your ribs. The function of the stomach is to break down and digest food.

Stomach cancer can occur in any part of the stomach. In most of the world, stomach cancers happen in the stomach's main body. This is also called the stomach body. Stomach cancer is more likely to start in the upper abdomen. This is where the stomach meets the long tube that carries food to your throat--the esophagus.

When deciding on a treatment plan for stomach cancer, doctors consider where the cancer originated in the intestines. Other factors that might come into play are the severity of the cancer and its stage of progression. Treatment often includes surgery to remove the cancer cells in the stomach area. For some patients, other treatments may be used before and after surgery.

The prognosis for stomach cancer is quite good if the cancer is only present in the stomach. If a person has a small stomach tumor, they have an excellent chance of being cured. However, most stomach cancers are not found until they are advanced and it may be more difficult to treat. Stomach cancer that grows through the stomach wall or spreads to other parts of the body has a poorer prognosis.

Types of stomach cancer

The four primary kinds of stomach cancer are as follows:

- Adenocarcinoma: This is the most common type of stomach cancer, accounting for around 95% of all cases. It begins in the cells lining the stomach, known as the mucosa.

- Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs): These are relatively rare, accounting for around 5% of stomach cancers. They occur in the connective tissue of the stomach.

- Lymphoma: This cancer affects the immune system and lymphatic system, which is a part of the body. Lymphoma can start anywhere in the body, including the stomach.

- Sarcoma: This is a rare type of cancer that starts in the connective tissue or muscles of the stomach.

Symptoms of stomach cancer

Most stomach cancer symptoms are caused by the tumor growing and blocking the stomach. This can lead to pain, indigestion, and trouble swallowing. As the tumor grows, it can also bleed, which can cause black stools or vomiting blood.

Other common symptoms of stomach cancer include:

- Weight Loss: There are many different symptoms of stomach cancer, but weight loss is one of the most common. If you are losing weight for no apparent reason, it is important to see your doctor to rule out cancer.

Loss of Appetite: It’s not unusual to have a poor appetite when you’re not feeling well. However, if you consistently lose your appetite or feel full after only a few bites of food, it could be a symptom of stomach cancer.

Abdominal pain or discomfort: Stomach cancer can cause a variety of abdominal pain or discomfort, depending on the individual and the stage of the cancer. In its early stages, stomach cancer may not cause any noticeable symptoms.

- Feeling full after eating only a small amount: It's common to feel full after eating only a small amount when you have stomach cancer. This happens because the tumor in your stomach can block the passageway to your small intestine. This makes it difficult for food to move from your stomach to your small intestine, which is where most of the digestion and absorption of nutrients takes place.

- Nausea and Vomiting: The most common symptom of stomach cancer is a burning or gnawing pain in the stomach that is not relieved by antacids.

How is stomach cancer treated?

The most common form of stomach cancer, adenocarcinoma, is typically treated with surgery. Depending on the stage of the cancer and other factors, the surgeon may remove part of the stomach (partial gastrectomy), all of the stomach (total gastrectomy), or sometimes just a portion of the lining of the stomach (subtotal or subtotal gastrectomy). 

In some cases, radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be recommended either before or after surgery. High-energy beams are used in radiation therapy to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy involves taking drugs that kill cancer cells. Sometimes chemotherapy is given as an injection into a vein or as a pill that you swallow. It can also be given as a regional treatment, which means that drugs are placed directly into the area where the cancer is found (such as through a tube called an endoscope).

Conclusion

Stomach cancer is a serious condition that can be difficult to detect in its early stages. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed in this article, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment of stomach cancer can improve your chances of a successful outcome.

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