Stomach cancer occurs within the lining of the stomach and is characterized by the rapid growth of cancerous cells. Also called gastric cancer, stomach cancer is not easy to diagnose because it relatively shows no symptoms in earlier stages. As it usually goes undiagnosed in the early stages, this makes it difficult to treat it.
Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you observe the symptoms of stomach cancer. Your doctor will diagnose and decide the appropriate treatment for you.
Symptoms of stomach cancer
Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer are:
Feeling bloated after eating
Feeling satiated after consuming small amounts of food
Severe, persistent heartburn
Severe indigestion that is always present
Unexplained, persistent nausea
Unintentional weight loss
Cause of stomach Cancer
The stomach (along with the esophagus) consists of just one part of the upper section of our digestive tract. The stomach aids in digesting food and then transporting the nutrients along to the rest of your digestive organs, namely the small and large intestines.
Stomach cancer usually occurs when healthy normal cells that are present in the upper digestive system become cancerous and multiply out of control. Habitually, this process occurs gradually, and stomach cancer takes time to develop after many years.
Risk factors of stomach cancer
These risk factors in stomach cancer include certain diseases and conditions, such as:
lymphoma (a group of blood cancers)
H. pylori bacterial infections (it is a standard stomach infection which results in ulcers)
tumours in other parts of the digestive system
Stomach cancer is also more common among:
people having a family history of the disease
people who are of Asian heritage particularly Korean, Japanese, South American, or Belarusian descent
Also, you may be more likely to get stomach cancer if you:
Eat a lot of salty or processed foods
have a history of alcohol abuse
don't store or prepare food properly
If you show specific symptoms, get a screening test if you believe that you are at a considerable risk of developing stomach cancer.
Diagnosis of Stomach Cancer
Various Tests and procedures that are used to diagnose stomach cancer include:
Upper Endoscopy: The doctor will insert a thin tube containing a tiny camera from your throat and into the stomach to see inside your stomach. The doctor will look at signs of cancer. However, if any suspicious areas are detected, then a piece of tissue can be extracted for analysis (biopsy).
Imaging tests: The doctor may recommend imaging tests such as computerized tomography (CT) scans and a particular type of X-ray exam sometimes called a barium swallow to look for stomach cancer inside your stomach.
Exploratory surgery: If your cancer has spread beyond your esophagus or stomach, within your chest or abdomen, then the doctor will recommend exploratory surgery. This surgery is performed laparoscopically. A compact and special camera is inserted through several small incisions in your abdomen that will transmit images to a monitor in the operating room.
Treating stomach cancer
Surgery for Stomach Cancer: The surgeon will extract all or some cancerous tissue inside the esophagus or stomach where the tumour is located. Surgery aims to remove all of cancer and a margin of active tissue, when possible. Nearby lymph nodes are also removed.
Radiation treatments: A powerful beam of energy, such as X-rays is used to target and eliminate cancerous cells before and after surgery. Radiation therapy can be used before surgery (neoadjuvant radiation) to limit a tumour so that it's more deftly removed. Radiation therapy can also be used after surgery (adjuvant radiation) to eliminate any cancer cells that might have remained in the area around your esophagus or stomach.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is implemented to kill cancer cells and limit the growth of cancer cells that may have spread beyond the stomach. Chemotherapy is frequently combined with radiation therapy. Chemotherapy can in addition be used in people who have advanced stomach cancer to help relieve signs and symptoms.
Targeted Therapy: These drugs primarily affect cancer cells and not active cells. These drugs block the abnormalities causing cancer cells to die.
Preventing Stomach Cancer
You can prevent Stomach cancer per se. However, you can considerably lower your risk of developing all cancers by:
Maintaining a healthy weight
following a balanced, low-fat diet
Talk to your doctor to get medicines that will help you in lowering the risk of stomach cancer. These medications usually help those individuals who suffer from other diseases that may contribute to cancer.