Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)

Cancer of the stomach lining


By Vishal Ingole, Medical Research EditorLast modified: September 20, 2011



Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)

Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)

Gastric cancer develops due to the multiplication of cells of the stomach which develops into a growth called as a tumor. There are many treatment options available for patients.

What is Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)?

Stomach cancer or gastric cancer as it is called medically, starts when cells in the stomach lining become abnormal and grow in an uncontrolled fashion to form a tumor.   A tumor may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous or spreading).

Symptoms of Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)

Gastric cancer is difficult to detect in its early stages as it does not have any clear symptoms. Early symptoms may include heartburn or indigestion, discomfort or pain in the abdomen, nausea and vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, bloating of stomach after meals and loss of appetite.
Symptoms of advanced stomach cancer are excessive fatigue and weakness, vomiting blood or passing blood in the stool and sudden significant weight loss.

Causes of Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)

There are three types of gastric cancers: lymphomas, gastric stromal tumours, and carcinoid tumours. While there is no exact cause of gastric cancer, there are risk factors that make a person more susceptible to the illness.

Risk Factors of Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)

The following factors may increase the risk of developing gastric cancer.
•    Age:  Gastric cancer is common in people over the age of 55.
•    Gender: Men have twice the chance of developing this disease than women.
•    Family history:  The occurrence of the disease in a first degree relative (parent, sibling or children) causes higher risk.
•    Race: Orientals, Hispanics and African-Americans have a higher risk of gastric cancer.
•    Diet: Eating foodstuffs that are salted, cured or pickled increases the risk of stomach cancer.      
•    Bacterial infection:  An infection of Helicobacter Pylori causing inflammation and ulcers which increase the risk of gastric cancer.
•    Excessive tobacco and alcohol consumption.

Tests and Diagnosis of Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)

For the diagnosis of gastric cancer, tests like an abdominal ultrasound in which sound waves are used to show images of your abdomen on a television screen may be conducted. Other tests include barium meal which will reveal the process of digestion, blood tests  and stool tests, C.T. Scan (Computerized Tomography scan) to assess the spread of the cancer and endoscopy in which a long bendable tube is used to see the inside of the digestive tract.

Treatment for Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)

The usual treatments are surgery to remove a part or all of the stomach, chemotherapy, radiation with X-rays and Gamma rays to control cancer. Doctors may even recommend combination therapy of two or more treatments so as to prevent the return of gastric cancer.

Prevention of Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)

The disease may be prevented by avoiding nitrates and nitrites which are abound in processed meats such as corned beef and salami and in cured meats such as bacon and ham. Consumption of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins A, C and E is recommended while limiting the amount of smoked, pickled and salted foods in your diet. It is important to avoid using cigarettes and other forms of tobacco and alcohol.


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