By: Carolina Focella
What is Stomach Cancer?
Stomach Cancer, also known as gastric cancer is a malignant tumor arising
from the lining of the stomach.
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 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).
Who Does it Effect?
Males over the age of 55
A diet low in fruits and vegetables.
A diet high in salted, smoked, or preserved foods.
Family history of gastric cancer. http://i.ehow.com/images/GlobalPhoto/Articles/4843258/138965-main_Full.jpg
People who use tobacco or drink alcoholic beverages regularly.
Workers in certain industries, including those in the coal mining, nickel refining, and
rubber and timber processing industries.
The cause of stomach cancer is unknown. Age and gender are risk factors and the disease is more common in men
over the age of 55.
A diet high in salt and nitrates and low in vitamins A and C increases the risk for stomach cancer. Food preparation
(e.g., preserving food by smoking, salt-curing, pickling, or drying) and environment (e.g., lack of refrigeration, poor
drinking water). A diet high in raw fruits and vegetables, citrus fruits, and fiber may lower the risk for stomach
Medical conditions that increase the risk for the disease include pernicious anemia (vitamin B-12 deficiency),
chronic inflammation of the stomach (atrophic gastritis), and intestinal polyps (noncancerous growths).
Genetic risk factors include hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) syndrome and Li-Fraumeni syndrome
(conditions that result in a predisposition to cancer), and a family history of gastrointestinal cancer. People with type
A blood also have an increased risk for stomach cancer.
Cigarette smoking, Infection with Heliobacter pylori bacteria (a bacteria related to stomach ulcers) or Epstein-Barr virus,
Obesity, Personal history of gastrointestinal cancer, previous abdominal radiation, or stomach surge
Stomach cancer cannot be prevented in all cases. With most cancers,
prevention involves moderating the lifestyle and environmental exposure
factors that seem to be associated with it. In the case of gastric cancer, this
may be difficult, since all the causes are not well understood.
Dietary risk factors can be managed. Individuals, especially those in risk
groups, should eat an adequate amount of fruits, vegetables, and whole
In addition, high-fat foods and animal proteins should only be consumed
moderately. Most importantly, individuals should minimize their intake of
dried, salty foods. Stop Smoking.
Signs and Symptoms
Difficulty swallowing, particularly difficulty that increases over time
Doctors will check for anemia- anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red
blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues.
General decline in health
Loss of appetite
Nausea and vomiting
Signs and Symptoms (cont.)
Unintentional weight loss
Vague abdominal fullness
Vomiting blood http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/08/01/health/adam/19235.jpg
Weakness or fatigue
Premature abdominal fullness after meals
Ascites ( collection of fluid in the abdomen)
Prognosis/ Survival Rate
Prognosis depends on the stage of the disease. Stomach
cancer metastasizes in as many as 80% of cases, resulting in a
very poor prognosis. In Japan, where stomach cancer often is
diagnosed early, the 5-year survival rate is about 50%. In the
United States and most of the Western world, the 5-year
survival rate ranges from 5–15%.
The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for stomach cancer
in the United States are for 2009:
about 21,130 cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed (12,820 in men
and 8,310 in women)
about 10,620 people will die from this type of cancer (6,320 men and
This is a disease that mostly affects older people. The average age at the
time of diagnosis is 71. Almost two thirds of people with stomach cancer
are older than 65. The risk of a person developing stomach cancer in their
lifetime is about 1 in 112, but it is slightly higher in men than in women.
How is it Identified?
Diagnosis of stomach cancer involves taking a medical history and performing a physical examination and laboratory tests. A
palpable (i.e., able to be felt with the fingers) tumor or mass may indicate advanced disease. Tests may include fecal occult blood
test, complete blood count (CBC), upper GI series (also called barium swallow), gastroscopy, and imaging tests.
In gastroscopy, the physician inserts a thin tube that contains a light and camera (called a gastroscope) through the mouth and
esophagus and into the stomach. The gastroscope allows the physician to see the inside of the stomach. Small instruments can be
passed through the gastroscope and used to remove a sample of tissue for examination (biopsy) in a laboratory. A local anesthetic
is used to reduce sensation in the esophagus during this procedure.
Fecal occult blood test is used to detect microscopic blood in the stool, which may indicate stomach or other gastrointestinal (GI)
cancers (e.g., colorectal cancer).
Complete blood count (CBC) is a simple blood test used to measure the concentration of white blood cells, red blood cells, and
In an upper GI series, or barium swallow, the patient drinks a thick, chalky liquid (barium) that coats the esophagus and stomach
and makes it easier to detect abnormal areas on x-ray. In double-contrast barium swallow, air is blown into the esophagus and
stomach to help the liquid coat the wall of the organs more thoroughly.
Surgery: Endoscopic mucosal resection: In this procedure, the cancer is removed through an endoscope (a long,
flexible tube passed down the throat and into the stomach). This procedure is only done for some very early stage
cancers, where the chance of spread to the lymph nodes is very low.
Subtotal gastrectomy: This operation is often recommended if the cancer is only in the lower part of the stomach. It
is also sometimes used for cancers that are only in the upper part of the stomach. Only part of the stomach is
removed, sometimes along with part of the esophagus or the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum). Nearby
lymph nodes are also removed. The remaining section of stomach is then reattached. Eating is much easier if only
part of the stomach is removed instead of the entire stomach.
2. Radiation Therapy- uses high-energy rays or particles to kill cancer cells in a specific area of the body. An external
beam radiation therapy is the type of radiation therapy often used to treat stomach cancer. This treatment focuses
the radiation on the cancer from a machine outside the body. Having this type of radiation therapy is like having an
x-ray, except that each treatment lasts longer, and the patient usually receives 5 treatments per week over a period of
weeks or months.
3.Chemotherapy - Drugs are used to kill the Cancer.
Follow-up care is necessary for stomach cancer patients.
Regular physical examination and tests (e.g., CT scan, MRI
scan) are used to detect recurrent or advanced disease. In
addition, patient’s dietary intake must be monitored regularly to
Many Universities NYU Cancer Institute for example are
motivated to find the causes and more treatments for stomach
National Cancer Institute (http://www.concer.gov/) is also
currently finding new works and improvement in finding new
information fro stomach cancer.