Stomach Cancer

What Is Stomach Cancer?

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is cancer that starts in any part of the stomach. Stomach cancer is not very common in the United States, and instances of stomach cancer have been decreasing.

Stomach Cancer Symptoms

There are two stages of symptoms of stomach cancer:

  • Early stage stomach cancer symptoms
  • Advanced stomach cancer symptoms

As stomach cancer grows and spreads, it begins to exhibit some telltale signs and symptoms.

Stomach Cancer

Stomach Cancer Causes

Certain segments of the population are at greater risk for developing stomach cancer. You can lower some known risk factors by eating a healthy diet and exercising.

Stomach Cancer Types

The most common type of stomach cancer is known as an adenocarcinoma, responsible for about 90 percent of all cases of stomach cancer. In addition to adenocarcinoma, there are several other, rare types of stomach cancer.

Stomach Cancer Diagnosis

The first step in stomach cancer diagnosis starts with a complete checkup and an understanding of your family history. This can help identify known stomach cancer risks. Additionally, there are more advanced testing options to help diagnose stomach cancer.

Stomach Cancer Stages

Staging stomach cancer is the process of seeing how advanced the disease is. We determine the stage of stomach cancer by looking at:

  • Size of the tumor
  • The number of lymph nodes involved
  • How far the cancer has spread (metastasized)

Stomach Cancer Symptoms

The symptoms of stomach cancer are in two distinct stages:

  • Early stage stomach cancer symptoms
  • Advanced stomach cancer symptoms

Early Stage Stomach Cancer Symptoms

It is common for people with early stage stomach cancer to experience no symptoms. However, as stomach cancer grows and spreads, it exhibits some telltale signs and symptoms, even while still in the early stages.

Symptoms may include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal pain or vague pain just above the belly button area
  • Indigestion, heartburn or vomiting
  • Loss of or decrease in appetite
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Blood in vomit or stool
  • A feeling of fullness after small meals

Many symptoms of early stage stomach cancer are also the symptoms of less serious stomach issues. If you are experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, it is important to see your doctor. The earlier we diagnose the cancer, the more successfully we can treat it.

Advanced Stomach Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms of advanced stomach cancer are more serious than symptoms of early stage stomach cancer. Because advanced stage stomach cancer has grown and spread, it can also effect nearby organs including:

  • The liver
  • The large intestine (also known as the colon)

If stomach cancer has grown to create a blockage within the stomach or the large intestine, you may experience:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Significant weight loss
  • Uncontrolled vomiting

Signs that stomach cancer has spread to the liver include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes)
  • Ascites (enlargement of stomach from fluid)

Stomach Cancer Diagnosis

If you experience any unexplained stomach or digestion symptoms, see your doctor for an expert diagnosis.

Stomach Cancer Types

The most common type of stomach cancer is known as an adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is responsible for about 90 percent of all cases of stomach cancer.

Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that originates in glandular tissue. Specifically, it originates in a type of glandular tissue known as epithelial tissue, which lines the surfaces and cavities of the body’s organs. As all our organs are lined with epithelial tissue, adenocarcinomas can affect any organ where epithelial tissue is present, not just the stomach.

Adenocarcinoma of the stomach originates in the cells that form the innermost layer of the stomach in the mucus producing cells, called the mucosa.

Stomach Cancer Types: Rare Cancers

While adenocarcinoma is the most common type of stomach cancer, it is not the only type. There are other, rarer types of stomach cancer, and the treatment and prognosis differ from adenocarcinomas.

Other types of stomach cancer may include:

  • Gastric lymphomas: These are cancers of the immune system tissue located in the stomach. The immune system protects the body against infection and disease.
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors: Also known as GIST, these types of stomach tumors can be benign (noncancerous) or cancerous. They form from cells in the stomach wall called interstitial cells of Cajal, a type of smooth muscle tissue.
  • Carcinoid tumors: These stomach tumors are a rare, slow-growing type of cancer that originates in the cells of the nervous system and endocrine system.

Stomach Cancer Diagnosis

The first step in stomach cancer diagnosis starts with a complete checkup and an understanding of your family history. This will help identify known stomach cancer risks.

If you are experiencing some of the most common stomach cancer symptoms, such as:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Jaundice
  • Vomiting
  • Severe abdominal pain

It is important that you see your doctor immediately to help diagnosis the problem. This may include telling your doctor about:

  • Family history of cancer, especially stomach caner
  • Lifestyle habits, such as what you eat and whether or not you smoke
  • Any previous stomach surgeries or stomach ulcers
  • Any pain or discomfort you are experiencing

Stomach Cancer: Advanced Diagnosis Options

In addition to taking a full family history and a physical examination, there are several advanced diagnosis methods we may use to help identify the presence of stomach cancer. This may include:

  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) to check for hidden blood in feces.
  • Upper endoscopy to check for presence of abnormal cells.
  • Upper GI series, a diagnostic test and X-ray series of the digestive system.
  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) test: H. pylori is a bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. We identify it through breath test or biopsy..

Stomach Cancer Stages

We determine the stage of the stomach cancer based on a number of factors. The most common way to diagnosis and identify stomach cancer stages is a classification system known as the TNM system. The TNM system helps identify stomach cancer stages based on:

  • Size of the tumor
  • The number of lymph nodes involved
  • How far the cancer has spread (metastasized)

Stomach Cancer Staging Tests

Testing to help determine and identify the stages of stomach cancer may include:

  • Biopsies
  • Imaging testing, such as CT scan
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Laparoscopy

After we complete the testing, we can determine the stage of stomach cancer. The classification of different levels of stomach cancer is called “stage grouping.”

Facebook
Google+
Twitter
YouTube
Instagram