Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is a cancer that starts in the stomach. Stomach cancer should not be confused with other cancers that can occur in the abdomen, like cancer of the colon (large intestine), liver, pancreas, or small intestine because these cancers may have different symptoms, different outlooks, and different treatments. Stomach cancers tend to develop slowly over many years. Before a true cancer develops, pre-cancerous changes often occur in the inner lining (mucosa) of the stomach. These early changes rarely cause symptoms and therefore often go undetected.
Early on, stomach cancer may cause nonspecific symptoms:
As tumors grow, more serious symptoms can occur:
- 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
Here at HDH Dr. Sinha will give you a physical exam. She'll also ask about your medical history, risk
Factors for stomach cancer or any family members who’ve had it.
- Blood tests/ Tumor marker to look for signs of cancer in your body.
- Upper endoscopy. Dr. Sinha will put a thin, flexible tube with a small camera down your throat to look into your stomach.
- Biopsy . Dr. Sinha takes a small piece of tissue from your stomach to look at under a microscope for signs of cancer cells. This is usually done during an endoscopy.
- Upper GI series test.
- CT scan
Types of Stomach Cancers
Different types of stomach cancer include:
- Adenocarcinoma --- About 90% to 95% of cancers of the stomach cancer
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)
- Carcinoid tumor - These are tumors that start in hormone-making cells of the stomach
- Other cancers
What Are the Risk Factors for Stomach Cancer?
A risk factor is anything that affects your chance of getting a disease such as cancer.
Some risk factors that can be changed
- Diet - An increased risk of stomach cancer is seen in people with diets that have large amounts of smoked foods, salted fish and meat, and pickled vegetables. Nitrates and nitrites are substances commonly found in cured meats. They can be converted by certain bacteria, such as H pylori, into compounds that have been shown to cause stomach cancer in lab animals. On the other hand, eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables appears to lower the risk of stomach cancer.
- Tobacco use - Smoking increases stomach cancer risk, particularly for cancers of the upper portion of the stomach near the esophagus. The rate of stomach cancer is about doubled in smokers.
- Being overweight or obese - Being overweight or obese is a possible cause of cancers of the cardia (the upper part of the stomach nearest the esophagus), but the strength of this link is not yet clear. Risk Factor that cannot be changed.
- Gender - Stomach cancer is more common in men than in women.
- Age - There is a sharp increase in stomach cancer rates in people over the age of 50. Most people diagnosed with stomach cancer are between their late 60s and 80s.
- Ethnicity - In the United States, stomach cancer is more common in Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and Asian/Pacific Islanders than it is in non-Hispanic whites.
- Geography - Worldwide, stomach cancer is more common in Japan, China, Southern and Eastern Europe, and South and Central America. This disease is less common in Northern and Western Africa, South Central Asia, and North America.
- Helicobacter pylori infection - Infection with Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) bacteria seems to be a major cause of stomach cancer, especially cancers in the lower (distal) part of the stomach. Long-term infection of the stomach with this germ may lead to inflammation (called chronic atrophic gastritis) and pre-cancerous changes of the inner lining of the stomach.
- Previous stomach surgery
- Inherited cancer syndromes
Can Stomach Cancer Be Prevented?
There is no sure way to prevent stomach cancer, but there are things you can do that could lower your risk.
Diet, nutrition, body weight, and physical activity
Decline of stomach cancer in the past several decades is thought to be a result of people reducing many of the known dietary risk factors. This includes greater use of refrigeration for food storage rather than preserving foods by salting, pickling, and smoking. To help reduce your risk, avoid a diet that is high in smoked and pickled foods and salted meats and fish.
A diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables can also lower stomach cancer risk The American Cancer Society recommends that people eat a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant foods. This includes eating vegetables and fruits every day. Choosing whole-grain breads, pastas, and cereals instead of refined grains, and eating fish, poultry, or beans instead of processed meat and red meat may also help lower your risk of cancer
Avoiding tobacco use
Treating H pylori infection
Using aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen, seems to lower the risk of stomach cancer. These medicines can also lower the risk of developing colon polyps and colon cancer. But they can also cause serious (and even life-threatening) internal bleeding and other potential health risks in some people.
Many of the symptoms may be attributed to a number of conditions other than cancer. If you notice any signs or symptoms, it's important to contact our office for an evaluation
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a best in class gastroenterologist regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.