Stomach Cancer

About stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is a malignant tumor arising from the lining of the stomach. There has been a significant decrease in the number of people diagnosed with stomach cancer in the past 60 years.

Stomach cancers are classified according to the type of tissue where they originate. The most common type of stomach cancer is adenocarcinoma, which starts in the glandular tissue of the stomach and accounts for 90% to 95% of all stomach cancers. Other forms of stomach cancer include lymphomas, which involve the lymphatic system and sarcomas, which involve the connective tissue (such as muscle, fat, or blood vessels). Stomach cancer may often be cured if it is found and treated at an early stage. Unfortunately, the outlook is poor if the cancer is already at an advanced stage when discovered. In most cases, stomach cancer is found at later stages.

Symptoms

In the early stages of stomach cancer, you may have very few symptoms. These may include:

  • Indigestion and stomach discomfort
  • A bloated feeling after eating
  • Mild nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Heartburn

Possible Causes

The exact cause of stomach cancer is unknown, but a number of factors can increase the risk of the disease, including:

  • Gender -- men have more than double the risk of getting stomach cancer than women.
  • Race -- being African-American or Asian may increase your risk.
  • Genetics -- genetic abnormalities and some inherited cancer syndromes may increase your risk
  • Geography -- stomach cancer is more common in Japan, the former Soviet Union, and parts of Central America and South America.
  • Blood type -- individuals with blood group A may be at increased risk.
  • Advanced age -- stomach cancer occurs more often around ages 70 and 74 in men and women, respectively.
  • Family history of gastric cancer can double or triple the risk of stomach cancer.
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating a diet low in fruits and vegetables or high in salted, smoked, or nitrate-preserved foods may increase your risk
  • Certain health conditions including chronic gastritis, pernicious anemia, gastric polyps, intestinal metaplasia, and prior stomach surgery.

Cancer Growth

Here is a picture of stomach cancer

Stages of stomach cancer

Stage 1

This is the earliest stage of cancer. It is divided into 1a and 1b.

Stage 1a means the cancer has grown no further than the lining of the stomach, with no cancer in the lymph nodes (T1, N0, M0).

Stage 1b means either that

  • The cancer is still within the stomach lining, but nearby lymph nodes contain cancer cells (T1, N1, M0) OR
  • There are no cancer cells in the lymph nodes, but the cancer has grown into the muscle of the stomach wall (T2, N0, M0)

Stage 2

Stage 2 is also divided into a and b

Stage 2a means that

  • The cancer is still within the lining of the stomach, but between 3 and 6 nearby lymph nodes contain cancer cells (T1, N2, M0) OR
  • The cancer has grown into the muscle layer of the stomach wall and is also in 1 or 2 nearby lymph nodes (T2, N1, M0) OR
  • The cancer has grown into the outer layers of the stomach but there are no cancer cells in the lymph nodes (T3, N0, M0)

Stage 2b means that

  • The cancer is within the lining of the stomach wall but 7 or more lymph nodes contain cancer cells (T1, N3, M0) OR
  • The cancer has grown into the muscle layer of the stomach and between 3 and 6 lymph nodes contain cancer cells (T2, N2, M0) OR
  • The cancer has grown into the outer layer of the stomach and is also in 1 or 2 nearby lymph nodes (T3, N1, M0) OR
  • The cancer has grown through the outer lining but there are no cancer cells in nearby lymph nodes (T4a, N0, M0)

Stage 3

Stage 3 is divided into a, b and c.

Stage 3a means that the cancer has grown

  • Into the muscle layer of the stomach and 7 or more nearby lymph nodes contain cancer cells (T2, N3, M0) OR
  • Into the outer lining of the stomach and between 3 and 6 nearby lymph nodes contain cancer cells (T3, N2, M0) OR
  • Through the stomach wall and 1 to 2 nearby lymph nodes contain cancer cells (T4a, N1, M0)

In stage 3b the cancer has grown

  • Into the outer lining of the stomach and more than 7 nearby lymph nodes contain cancer cells (T3, N3, M0) OR
  • Right through the stomach wall and between 3 and 6 lymph nodes contain cancer (T4a, N2, M0)OR
  • Right through the stomach wall into nearby tissues and organs, and the nearby lymph nodes may contain cancer (T4b, N0 to 1, M0)

In stage 3c the cancer has

  • Grown right through the stomach wall and more than 7 nearby lymph nodes contain cancer (T4a, N3, M0) OR
  • Grown right through the stomach wall into nearby tissues and organs, and the lymph nodes contain cancer (T4b, N2 to 3, M0)

Stage 4

Metastasis means your cancer is advanced and has spread to body organs further away from the stomach, such as the lungs, brain or bones (any T, any N, M1).

Treatments


  1. No chemotherapy or radiation therapy is needed. Surgery with either subtotal gastrectomy (removal of part of the stomach) or total gastrectomy (removal of the entire stomach) is often the main treatment for thesecancers. Nearby lymph nodes are removed as well.

Survival rates

Remission is when the cancer is stopped until the cancer starts growing again. According to the American Cancer Society, the estimated numbers of new cases (people diagnosed with the condition) and deaths from gastric cancer in the United States in 2015 will be:

  • New cases: 21,320
  • Deaths: 15,070

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