Stomach cancer is cancer that starts in the stomach.
Cancer – stomach; Gastric cancer; Gastric carcinoma; Adenocarcinoma of the stomach
Several types of cancer can occur in the stomach. The most common type is called adenocarcinoma. It starts from one of the common cell types found in the lining of the stomach.
Adenocarcinoma is a common
The number of people in the United States who develop this cancer has decreased over the years. Experts think this decrease may be in part because people are eating less salted, cured, and smoked foods.
You are more likely to get diagnosed with gastric cancer if you:
Have a diet low in fruits and vegetables
Have a family history of gastric cancer
Have an infection of the stomach by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori
polyplarger than 2 centimeters in your stomach
Have inflammation and swelling of the stomach for a long time (chronic atrophic
Symptoms of stomach cancer may include any of the following:
- Abdominal fullness or
pain, which may occur after a small meal
- Dark stools
- Difficulty swallowing, which becomes worse over time
- Excessive belching
- General decline in health
- Loss of appetite
- Weakness or fatigue
Exams and Tests
Diagnosis is often delayed because symptoms may not occur in the early stages of the disease. Or, patients may self-treat symptoms that gastric cancer has in common with other, less serious disorders (such as bloating, gas, heartburn, and fullness).
Tests that can help diagnose gastric cancer include:
Complete blood count(CBC) to check for anemia.
Esophagogastroduodenoscopy(EGD) with biopsyto examine the stomach tissue. EGD involves putting a tiny camera down the esophagus (food tube) to look at the inside of the stomach.
Stool testto check for blood in the stools.
Surgery to remove the stomach (
For persons who cannot have surgery, chemotherapy or radiation may improve symptoms and may prolong survival, but will likely not cure the cancer. For some patients, a surgical bypass procedure may relieve symptoms.
You can ease the stress of illness by joining a
Outlook varies based on how much the cancer has spread by the time of diagnosis. Tumors in the lower stomach are cured more often than those in the higher stomach. Chance of a cure also depends on how far the tumor has invaded the stomach wall and whether lymph nodes are involved.
When the tumor has spread outside the stomach, a cure is not possible. In this case, the goal of treatment is to improve symptoms.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if symptoms of gastric cancer develop.
Screening programs are successful in detecting disease in the early stages in parts of the world where the risk of stomach cancer is much higher than in the United States. The value of screening in the United States and other countries with lower rates of stomach cancer is not clear.
The following may help reduce your risk of stomach cancer:
Do not smoke.
Eat a healthy foods rich in fruits and vegetables.
Take medicines to treat
reflux disease (heartburn), if you have it.
Take antibiotics if you are diagnosed with H. pylori infection.