Stomach cancer begins when cancer cells form in the inner lining of your stomach. These cells can grow into a tumor. Also called gastric cancer, the disease usually grows slowly over many years.
What Causes Stomach Cancer?
Scientists don’t know exactly what makes cancer cells start growing in the stomach. But they do know a few things that can raise your risk for the disease. One of them is infection with a common bacteria , H. pylori, which causes ulcers. Inflammation in your gut called gastritis, long-lasting anemia, and growths in your stomach called polyps also can make you more likely to get cancer.
Other things that seem to play a role in raising the risk include:
- Being overweight or obese
- A diet high in smoked, pickled, or salty foods
- Stomach surgery for an ulcer
- Type-A blood
- Epstein-Barr virus infection
- Certain genes
- Working in coal, metal, timber, or rubber industries
- Exposure to asbestos
Early on, stomach cancer may cause:
- Feeling bloated after you eat a meal
- Slight nausea
- Loss of appetite
But if you feel these symptoms a lot, talk to your doctor. He can see if you have other risk factors and test you to look for any problems.
As stomach tumors grow, you may have more serious symptoms, such as:
- Stomach pain
- Blood in your stool
- Weight loss for no reason
- Trouble swallowing
- Yellowish eyes or skin
- Swelling in your stomach
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Weakness or feeling tired
Getting a Diagnosis
- Your doctor will give you a physical exam. He’ll also ask about your medical history to see if you have any risk factors for stomach cancer or any family members who’ve had it. Then, he might give you some tests, including:
- Blood tests to look for signs of cancer in your body.
- Upper endoscopy. Your doctor will put a thin, flexible tube with a small camera down your throat to look into your stomach.
- Upper GI series test. You’ll drink a chalky liquid with a substance called barium. The fluid coats your stomach and makes it show up more clearly on X-rays.
- CT scan . This is a powerful X-ray that makes detailed pictures of the inside of your body.
- Biopsy . Your doctor takes a small piece of tissue from your stomach to look at under a microscope for signs of cancer cells. He might do this during an endoscopy.
Many treatments can fight stomach cancer. The one you and your doctor choose will depend on how long you’ve had the disease or how much it has spread in your body, called the stage of your cancer.
- Surgery. Your doctor might remove part of your stomach or other tissues nearby that have cancer cells. Surgery gets rid of the tumor and stops cancer from spreading to other parts of your body. If your disease is in a more advanced stage, your doctor might need to remove all of your stomach. The same surgery for the stomach can be done by Minimal Invasive Technique (Key whole surgery). This has revolutionized treatment of stomach cancer and does not need large incisions and patients are discharged early with morbidity and almost zero mortality.
Some tumors can keep food from moving in and out of your stomach. In that case, you might have surgery to put in a stent, a device that keeps the pathways open.
- Chemotherapy. Drugs kill your cancer cells or keep them from growing. You can take them as pills or through an IV at a clinic. Chemo usually takes several weeks. The drugs can cause side effects, but your doctor can help you find ways to feel better during treatment.
- Radiation. High-energy waves or particles can kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Your doctor may use an X-ray or other machine to beam radiation at the spot where your tumor is.
- Chemoradiation. Your doctor might use this mix of chemotherapy and radiation to shrink your tumor before surgery.
- Targeted drugs. These newer drugs are different because they fight only cancer cells. Other treatments, like chemo and radiation, can kill healthy cells along with diseased ones. As a result, targeted therapies have fewer side effects than these other treatments.
How Can I Prevent Stomach Cancer?
- Treat stomach infections. If you have ulcers from an H. pylori infection, get treatment. Antibiotics can kill the bacteria, and other drugs will heal the sores in the lining of your stomach to cut your risk of cancer.
- Eat healthy. Get more fresh fruits and vegetables on your plate every day. They’re high in fiber and in some vitamins that can lower your cancer risk. Avoid very salty, pickled, cured, or smoked foods like hot dogs, processed lunch meats, or smoked cheeses. Keep your weight at a healthy level, too. Being overweight or obese can also raise your risk of the disease.
- Don’t smoke. Your stomach cancer risk doubles if you use tobacco.
- Watch aspirin or NSAID use. If you take daily aspirin to prevent heart problems or NSAID drugs for arthritis, talk to your doctor about how these drugs might affect your stomach.
Gastric cancer remains one of the most common and deadly cancers worldwide, especially among older males. Based on GLOBOCAN 2018 data, stomach cancer is the 5th most common neoplasm and the 3rd most deadly cancer, with an estimated 783,000 deaths in 2018. There is a worldwide variation in the incidence of gastric cancer. A high incidence of gastric cancer has been reported from Southeast Asia, most commonly from Japan, China, and South Korea, and this has been attributed to the consumption of preserved food containing carcinogenic nitrates.
The Indian Phenomena
Gastric cancer is the fifth most common cancer among males and seventh most common cancer among females in India. The aggressiveness of the disease and need for improvement in therapeutic options is discerned by the fact the gastric cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death globally. The high incidence of local and distant recurrence even in patients with completely resectable gastric cancer indicates the systemic spread of cancer very early in the disease, thus emphasizing the need for multimodality treatment including surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy for treating the disease.
The incidence of gastric cancer in Mizoram has been reported to be the highest in India. The AAR in males and females has been reported at 50.6 and 23.3, respectively. Hospital-based data from Mizoram have shown gastric cancer to be the most common cancer accounting for 30% of all cancer cases. The male-to-female ratio was 2.3:1; the median age for males was 58 years and that for female was 57 years. The high prevalence of gastric cancer in Mizoram has been attributed to dietary and possibly some unknown genetic differences. In a case-control study from Mizoram among the cases, the risk of stomach cancer was significantly high in current smokers (odds ratio (OR), 2.3; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.4-8.4). Higher risks were seen for meiziol (a local cigarette) smokers (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.3-9.3). Tuibur (tobacco smoke-infused water), used mainly in Mizoram, was associated with the risk of stomach cancer among current users in both univariate and multivariate models (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.3-3.1. In another report from Chennai, alcohol consumption and use of pickled food were found independent risk factors for gastric cancer. On the other hand, use of pulses was found to be offering a protective effect. Hospital-based data are prone to selection and referral bias and hence the above results need to be viewed with caution. In another hospital-based study from Kashmir, there was no association found between gastric cancer and Helicobacter pylori infection in 1314 patients. Similar to Mizoram, the incidence was higher in males and the cancer occurred most commonly in the fifth decade of life. The most common site of tumor was the body of stomach (40.7%) followed by the pylorus (35.5%). In conclusion, the epidemiology of gastric cancer suggests that it is not a single disease or caused by a single factor, but a combination of genetic, sociocultural, and environmental factors in a given region dictates its presentation.
- How long is chemo for stomach cancer?
Ans: You usually have chemotherapy every 3 weeks. Each 3 week period is called a cycle. You may have between 3 and 6 cycles of chemotherapy. You’re likely to have chemotherapy before surgery if you’re going to have surgery aiming to cure the cancer.
2. How long can you live with stomach cancer?
Ans: More than 80 out of 100 people (80%) with stage 1A stomach cancer will survive for 5 years or more after they’re diagnosed. Around 70 out of 100 people (70%) with stage 1B stomach cancer will survive for 5 years or more after they’re diagnosed
3. Can stomach cancer be cured?
Ans: Many cases of stomach cancer can‘t be completely cured, but it’s still possible to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life using chemotherapy and in some cases radiotherapy and surgery. … Surgery to remove some or all of the stomach is known as a gastrectomy.
4. Who is at risk for stomach cancer?
Ans: Age: Stomach cancer is found most often in people over age 55. Gender: The disease affects men twice as often as women. Race: Stomach cancer is more common in African Americans than in Caucasians.
5. Is Stomach Cancer aggressive?
Ans: Diffuse gastric cancer is aggressive cancer that grows rapidly in the cells of the stomach wall. … Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC) is a hereditary cancer syndrome sometimes caused by a mutation in the CDH1 gene.
6. What foods fight stomach cancer?
Ans: Fruits and
vegetables offer the body antioxidants, which can help fight against cancer.
Choose protein-rich foods.
- Lean meats such as chicken, fish, or turkey.
- Low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese or dairy substitutes.
- Nuts and nut butters.
- Soy foods.
7. Where Does stomach cancer spread first?
Ans: The first lymph nodes that cancer cells spread to are the “perigastric” nodes along the sides of the stomach itself. They can then spread to lymph nodes adjacent to the liver, spleen, pancreas, and aorta. Gastric cancers can also spread through the bloodstream
8. Can ultrasounds detect stomach cancer?
Ans: Imaging tests
These tests help our doctors determine where the cancer is in the stomach and whether it has spread to other abdominal organs. MRI may help doctors stage stomach cancer. … Ultrasound may be used if fluid is found in your abdomen. Ultrasound produces images of organs from high-energy sound waves and echoes.
9. Can a blood test detect stomach cancer?
Ans : Being diagnosed with stomach cancer. … Your doctor will arrange for you to have a test called an endoscopy to look at the inside of your stomach. You’ll have blood tests to check your general health and to find out if you’re anaemic (low amount of red blood cells).D
The outlook after receiving a stomach cancer diagnosis is generally poor.
The relative 5-year survival rate is the likelihood that a person with stomach cancer will survive for 5 years or longer when compared to a person who does not have cancer. This reduces as the cancer becomes more aggressive and spreads beyond the original tumor.
If a person receives diagnosis and treatment before stomach cancer spreads, the 5-year survival rate is 68%. If the cancer metastasizes into deeper tissues in the stomach, this reduces to 31%.
Once the stomach cancer reaches distant organs, the survival rate drops to 5%.
Early diagnosis is key to improving the outlook for stomach cancer.