Stomach Cancer

Uncontrolled cell growth in any part of the stomach is called as stomach cancer or gastric cancer. Adenocarcinoma, that begins in the glandular tissue of the stomach is considered as most common type of stomach cancer. Soft tissue sarcomas and lymphomas are less common cancers that begins in the stomach and spreads to other organs such as liver, esophagus and pancreas.

Signs and symptoms

You may experience following signs and symptoms at various stages of stomach cancer:

Early stage symptoms

  • Indigestion
  • Less desire for food
  • Abdominal irritation

Middle stage symptoms

  • Low energy level
  • Stomach bloating after meals

Advanced stage symptoms

  • Discomfort in upper abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Bloody stool
  • Dysphagia: It means a tumor in the cardia or spreading out of the gastric tumor into the esophagus.

Note: you may also experience these symptoms for some other troubles like stomach virus, gastric ulcer or tropical sprue.

Causes

Stomach cancer is caused in you for following reasons:

  • Helicobacter pylori infection
  • Smoked foods
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Obesity
  • Salted fish and meat
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Smoking
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Exposure to coal mining, nickel refining, rubber and timber processing and asbestos
  • Family history of gastric cancer may increase the risk
  • Advanced age (70 for men and 75 for women)

Test and procedures


To detect stomach cancer following tests are conducted:

Gastroscopic examination and biopsy:

During this process a fiber optic camera is inserted into the stomach to have a clear and complete view of inside areas.

Barium roentgenogram

While checking the stomach in the course of Barium roentgenogram method, a special tube is used for barium to be nebulized into the stomach. Then x-rays of the colon and rectum are obtained. This double-contrast study of the mucosa helps in detecting the tumor and affected areas in stomach.

CT scan (Computed tomography):

A CT scan of the abdomen shows a clear picture of the stomach and it is helpful in detecting the stomach cancer as well as its spread into other parts such as lymph nodes.

Endoscopy and biopsy

An endoscope (a lighted, thin tube with a camera at one end) is passed through patient’s mouth and esophagus to check the stomach. Often the endoscope is equipped with a tool to remove a sample tissue from suspected area inside the stomach. The tissue is examined under microscope to detect stomach cancer.

Treatment

The treatment of stomach cancer depends on a few factors such as size, location and stage of the malignant tumor. Your general health is also taken into consideration while deciding the type of treatment.

The following are the treatment methods adopted for stomach cancer:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Clinical trial

Your doctor may adopt one or more than one treatment method as per requirement.

Stomach Cancer Awareness Month & Ribbon
Month November
Ribbon Periwinkle Color

 

Treatment Cost

According to reports, cost of stomach cancer treatment could be approximately $200,000 or more than that depending upon the seriousness of the patient and the quality of health care system you adopt.

Preventive Measures

Preventive measures for stomach cancer include:

  • Eating healthy food that include lots of greens, vegetables, fruits and whole grain
  • Lessen eating of dried, salty foods
  • Maintain a balanced weight
  • Stop drinking alcohol and quit smoking (if you have these habits)
  • Do not ignore indigestion problem if it continues for more than 15 days. Home test your stool for blood in a regular interval.

And last but not the least; early diagnosis and understanding stomach cancer is very much useful in complete recovery.

Side Effects

Side effects of various treatments of stomach cancer are as follows:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness immediately after having food
  • Liquid may enter into the small intestine quickly
  • Loss of craving for food
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Changes in skin
  • Bruising
  • Bleeding

However, your doctor can help in lessening these side effects with proper medication.

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