Stomach cancer: Everything you should know

Stomach cancer is an aggregation of irregular cells that form a mass in a portion of the stomach, or gastric cancer. In any portion of the stomach, it may grow.

In 2018, stomach cancer caused 783,000 deaths worldwide, according to the health organization (WHO). It is the world’s sixth most prevalent disease, but the third leading cause of death associated with cancer.

In the United States, over the last decade , the rate of new reports of stomach cancer has dropped by about 1.5 percent annually.

Around 90–95% of all stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas. In this kind, the cancer arises from the cells in the mucosa that glow. It is the mucus-producing lining of the intestine.

We look at ways to detect, identify, and treat stomach cancer in this article, as well as the risk factors.

Symptoms

A young man sitting down
Stomach cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide.

Several symptoms can arise from stomach cancer. However, since stomach cancers develop very slowly, these signs may not occur for several years.

For this effect, until the condition is already progressed, many individuals with stomach cancer do not obtain a diagnosis.

Symptoms of an early stage of stomach cancer include:

  • a sensation of being very full during meals
  • swallowing difficulties
  • feeling bloated after meals
  • frequent burping
  • heartburn
  • indigestion that does not resolve
  • stomach ache
  • pain in the breastbone
  • trapped wind
  • vomiting, which may contain blood

Many of these effects, though, are somewhat similar to those of other diseases, which are less severe. However, someone who encounters swallowing problems with an elevated risk of stomach cancer should seek immediate medical attention.

Any individuals can develop the following symptoms as stomach cancer gets more advanced:

  • anemia
  • a buildup of fluid in the stomach, which may cause the stomach to feel lumpy to the touch
  • black stools that contain blood
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss

Treatment

Stomach cancer therapy relies on many factors , including the nature of the cancer and the general health and interests of the person.

Treatments can include surgery , chemotherapy, radiation treatment, medications, and clinical trial participation.

Surgery

There are surgical procedures available to treat stomach cancer.
There are surgical procedures available to treat stomach cancer.

As well as a margin of healthy tissue, a surgeon may attempt to remove stomach cancer. To ensure that they should not leave any cancerous cells behind, the surgeon needs to do this.

Examples include:

  • Endoscopic mucosal resection: The surgeon will use endoscopy to remove tiny tumors from the mucosal layer. Doctors usually recommend this type of treatment for early stage stomach cancer that has not yet spread to other tissues.
  • Subtotal gastrectomy: This involves removing part of the stomach.
  • Total gastrectomy: A surgeon removes the whole stomach.

Abdominal procedures are necessary treatments that can take a long period of recovery. After the treatment , people will have to remain in the hospital for 2 weeks. This will follow several weeks of rest at home.

Radiation therapy

An specialist uses radioactive rays in radiation therapy to locate and kill cancerous cells. Because of the risk of damaging surrounding organs, this form of therapy is not usual in the treatment of stomach cancer.

However, radiation treatment is an alternative if the cancer is advanced or causes serious effects, such as bleeding or extreme pain.

Before surgery to shrink the cancers, a healthcare team will combine radiation therapy with chemotherapy. This encourages surgical removal to be quicker. To kill any remaining cancer cells around the stomach, they can even use radiation following surgery.

As a consequence of receiving radiation treatment, people can feel indigestion, nausea, vomiting , and diarrhea.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a specialized technique that uses medications to avoid the differentiation and proliferation of fast-growing cancer cells. These drugs are known as cytotoxic medicines. It is a key therapy that has spread to different places in the body for stomach cancer.

The medication travels throughout the body of the person and attacks cancer cells at the cancer’s primary site and any other regions it has spread to.

In the treatment of stomach cancer, a cancer care team can administer chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumor or destroy the remaining cancer cells after surgery.

Targeted medications

Targeted therapies identify particular proteins that cancer cells create and strike them. Although chemotherapy is typically directed at quickly dividing cells, selective drugs are focused on cancer cells with other features.

This lowers the number of healthy cells which are killed by chemotherapy.

Cancer care teams prescribe two targeted medications for people with stomach cancer through an intravenous infusion (IV):

  • Trastuzumab (Herceptin): This targets HER2, a protein that promotes cell growth. Some stomach cancers produce an excess of HER2.
  • Ramucirumab (Cyramza): This medication focuses on blocking a protein called VEGF that tells the body to produce the new blood vessels that tumors need to grow.

Immunotherapy

This is a procedure that uses medications to enable the immune cells of the body to destroy cancer cells.

The applicants for immunotherapy are patients with advanced stomach cancer who have undergone two or more other treatments.

Diagnosis

Individuals with recurrent stomach cancer signs should visit a specialist as soon as possible.

The psychiatrist would inquire about the signs, family history , medical records, and lifestyle decisions they make, such as what they eat and drink and if they smoke. To screen for stomach tenderness or lumpiness, they may also do a physical examination.

In order to assess if there is an abundance of such compounds that signify cancer, they can also conduct blood testing. In order to calculate the number of red and white blood cells, as well as platelets and hemoglobin, they can also administer a full blood count.

If the doctor believes stomach cancer, he or she will refer the person for scans to a specialist in stomach diseases. This specialist is known as a gastroenterologist.

The following may contain diagnostic interventions.

Upper endoscopy

To look into the stomach, the expert uses an endoscope. The esophagus, stomach, and the duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine, are examined.

When the doctor detects cancer, they will do a biopsy to gather samples of the tissue, which they they return for examination to the laboratory.

CT Scanning

A CT scan provides informative, multi-angle photographs of locations within the body.

A doctor can inject a dye before a CT scan or ask the person to swallow it. This dye helps the scanner to create better pictures of the areas affected.

Barium swallow

The person swallows a barium-containing liquid which lines the esophagus and stomach. During an X-ray, this helps locate abnormalities in the stomach.

X-rays of the esophagus and stomach would therefore be taken by a radiologist.

Risk factors

Certain factors increase the risk of cancer, including:

Medical conditions

Conditions linked to stomach cancer include:

  • H. pylori infection in the stomach
  • intestinal metaplasia, in which cells that would usually line the intestine line the stomach lining
  • peptic stomach ulcers
  • chronic atrophic gastritis, or long term stomach inflammation that makes the stomach lining thinner
  • pernicious anemia, which might develop due to a deficiency of vitamin B12
  • stomach polyps

Certain genetic conditions add to the risk of stomach cancer, including:

  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • Lynch syndrome
  • type A blood

Smoking

When opposed to non-smokers, daily, long-term smokers have a greater risk of stomach cancer.

Learn all on how to give up smoking.

Family history

The risk can be increased by having a close relative who has or has had stomach cancer.

Diet

There is a increased chance of contracting gastric cancer in individuals who frequently eat salted, pickled, or smoked foods. The risk of stomach cancer is also raised by a high intake of red meat and processed grains.

There are chemicals in certain foods that may be related to cancer. For starters, aflatoxins are present in crude vegetable oils, cocoa beans, tree nuts, groundnuts, figs, and other dried foods and spices. In certain species, some experiments have related aflatoxin to cancer.

Age

Over the age of 50 years, the chance of contracting stomach cancer rises considerably. 60 percent of individuals who obtain a diagnosis of stomach cancer are at least 65 years old, according to the American Cancer Society.

Sex

Men are more likely than females to develop stomach cancer.

Some surgical procedures

Years later, stomach surgery or a part of the body that affects the stomach, such as ulcer treatment, can increase the risk of stomach cancer.

For a diagnosis, people who develop problems who have one or more of these risk factors may visit a doctor.

Prevention

There is no means of absolutely avoiding stomach cancer.

An individual may, however, take measures to decrease the risk of contracting the disease. That involve what follows.

Diet

The risk of stomach cancer can be minimized by many nutritional steps.

The American Cancer Society recommends that the risk will be minimized by eating at least two and a half cups of fruit and vegetables a day.

They also suggest reducing the amount of foods in the diet that are pickled, salted, and smoked. Switching out refined grains for whole grain cereals, bread, and pasta and substituting beans, fish , and poultry for red or processed meats can also decrease a person’s risk of contracting stomach cancer.

Smoking

The risk of cancer growing in the part of the stomach near the esophagus can be increased by smoking tobacco.

Those that smoke ought to get instructions on stopping. Exposure of cigarette smoke can be avoided for those who do not currently smoke.

Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)

The risk of stomach cancer can be decreased with the use of NSAIDs, such as aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen. They bear extra risks, though, such as life-threatening internal bleeding.

To treat such conditions, such as arthritis, you can only take NSAIDs. Do not take them exclusively to reduce the chance of cancer of the stomach.

Testing for other conditions and cancers

A happy woman with her daughter
People with a family history of stomach cancer may benefit from genetic testing.

There is a dramatically elevated chance of stomach cancer in individuals who have hereditary diffuse gastric cancer syndrome and Lynch syndrome. Recognizing this and taking precautions will reduce the risk after obtaining a doctor’s advice.

Genetic research may help persons with close family members who have had stomach cancer and anyone who had invasive lobular breast cancer before the age of 50 years.

If there are variations in the CDH1 gene in a test, a doctor may recommend that the stomach be removed before cancer develops.

New research explores the potential cancer associations in the stomach lining of chronic Helicobacter pylori ( H. pylori) infection.

Early studies suggest that treating H. pylori infection with antibiotics can reduce the risk of stomach cancer, although further research is necessary.

Outlook

The outlook after getting a diagnosis of stomach cancer is usually low.

Compared to a person who doesn’t have cancer, the average 5-year survival rate is the chance that a person with stomach cancer will live for 5 years or more. This reduces as the cancer becomes more aggressive and spreads beyond the original tumor.

The 5-year survival rate is 68 percent if a person gets diagnosis and treatment before stomach cancer spreads. This drops to 31 percent if the cancer metastasizes into deeper tissues in the stomach.

When the cancer of the stomach enters distant organs, the survival rate decreases to 5%.

The secret to improving the outlook for stomach cancer is early diagnosis.

Related Articles

Back to top button