By: Kimberly Rosales
What is stomach cancer?
Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer,
is a malignant tumor arising from the lining
of the stomach.
What causes stomach cancer?
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
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,
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
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
Loss of appetite
In more advanced cancer, you may have:
Discomfort in the upper or middle part of the abdomen.
Blood in the stool (which appears as black, tarry stools).
Vomiting or vomiting blood.
Pain or bloating in the stomach after eating.
Weakness or fatigue associated with mild anemia (a deficiency in red blood cells).
Your health care provider can often detect advanced stomach cancer by
performing a physical exam.
However, if you are having vague symptoms, such as indigestion, weight loss,
nausea, and loss of appetite, screening tests may be recommended. These tests
Upper GI series. These are X-rays of the esophagus, stomach, and first part of
the intestine taken after you drink a barium solution. The barium outlines the
stomach on the X-ray, which helps the doctor, using special imaging
equipment, to find tumors or other abnormal areas.
Gastroscopy and biopsy. This test examines the esophagus and stomach
using a thin, lighted tube called a gastroscope, which is passed through the
mouth to the stomach.
Once stomach cancer is diagnosed, more tests may be done to determine if the
cancer has spread. These tests may include CT scans, PET scans, bone scans,
laparoscopy and endoscopic ultrasound.
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.
Stomach cancer may be treated with the following, in
combination, or alone:
Surgery, called gastrectomy, to remove all or part of
the stomach, as well as some of the tissue
surrounding the stomach.