Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells form in the tissues of the stomach. The stomach is a J-shaped organ in the upper abdomen, which is part of the digestive system. It helps to break down and digest food.

Stomach cancer develops slowly over many years, often beginning with precancerous changes in the stomach lining. Most stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas, which originate from the epithelial cells that line the stomach.

Factors that increase the risk of stomach cancer include certain infections (like H. pylori), long-term stomach inflammation, smoking, certain eating habits (like consuming processed or salty foods), and certain inherited conditions. It may present with symptoms like indigestion, a sensation of bloating or fullness, lack of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, stomach pain, vomiting, and anemia.

Stomach cancer

The treatment protocols for stomach cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted drug therapy, depending on the stage and extent of the disease.

Causes of Stomach cancer

There are quite a few potential causes or risk factors associated with stomach (gastric) cancer, although the exact cause of this disease is not fully understood. Among the leading factors are:

1. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) Infection: This bacterium commonly lives in the mucus layer that covers and protects tissues that line the stomach and small intestine. Untreated, a long-term H. pylori infection can lead to inflammation and stomach ulcers and may increase the risk of stomach cancer.

2. Older Age: It is rare in people under 50 and most commonly diagnosed in people aged 60 to 80.

3. Diet: A diet high in smoked and salted foods (like cured meats and pickles), and low in fruits and vegetables can increase the risk of stomach cancer.

4. Tobacco Use: Smokers are twice as likely to develop stomach cancer in comparison with non-smokers.

5. Certain stomach conditions: Chronic gastritis, stomach polyps, and certain specific types of long-standing anemia can raise your risk.

6. Family History: Individuals who have a sibling, parent, or child with stomach cancer have a doubled risk of developing the disease.

7. Genetic Factors: Certain inherited DNA changes can dramatically increase the risk for stomach cancer.

8. Certain occupations: Workers in the coal, metal, and rubber industries seem to face a higher risk of getting stomach cancer.

9. Type A Blood: For unknown reasons, people with type A blood are somewhat more likely to develop stomach cancer.

Please note that having one or more of these risk factors does not mean you will definitely get stomach cancer; they merely increase the likelihood. Moreover, many people with stomach cancer do not have any of these known risk factors. Regular check-ups and a healthy lifestyle can help reduce cancer risk overall.

Risk Factors of Stomach cancer

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, has several risk factors. It’s important to note that having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean one will develop stomach cancer, but it can increase the risk.

1. Age: Stomach cancer tends to appear in older adults, most commonly in people aged 60 or older.

2. Gender: Men are more likely to develop stomach cancer than women.

3. Helicobacter pylori infection: This is a bacterium that can cause gastric ulcers and inflammation, which can increase the risk of stomach cancer.

4. Family history: People with a close relative who has had stomach cancer are more likely to develop the disease.

5. Diet: A diet high in salty and smoked foods and low in fruits and vegetables can increase the risk of stomach cancer.

6. Tobacco and alcohol use: Both tobacco use and heavy intake of alcohol increase the risk of stomach cancer.

7. Certain stomach conditions: Chronic gastritis, stomach polyps, and chronic stomach inflammation can increase the risk of stomach cancer.

8. Pernicious anemia: This type of anemia resulting from vitamin B12 deficiency can increase the risk.

9. Certain genetic disorders: Certain syndromes that are passed through families, like Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), can significantly increase the risk of stomach cancer.

10. Exposure to certain occupational factors: Exposure to certain dusts and fumes in industries such as coal, metal, and rubber can increase the risk of stomach cancer.

11. Previous stomach surgery: People who have had part of their stomach removed for conditions other than cancer are at increased risk of developing stomach cancer in the future.

Remember, it’s always important to consult with a healthcare provider if you believe you have risk factors or are concerned about stomach cancer. They can provide more personalized advice based on your overall health and medical history.

Signs and Symptoms of Stomach cancer

Stomach cancer, also known commonly as gastric cancer, can exhibit a variety of symptoms, especially in its later stages. However, in its early stages, it might not cause any symptoms at all. Here are the potential signs and symptoms of stomach cancer:

1. Poor Appetite: People may feel less inclined to eat and may eventually lose weight unintentionally.

2. Weight Loss: Unintended loss of weight without any change in diet or physical activity.

3. Abdominal Pain: Uncomfortable or painful sensation in the stomach area, usually above the navel. This could be recurrent or persistent.

4. Feeling Full Early: A feeling of being full or bloated after a small meal.

5. Heartburn or indigestion: This is a form of minor discomfort or pain below the sternum, usually after eating.

6. Stomach Discomfort: A discomforting sensation, which could be a dull pain or stomach tenderness.

7. Nausea: A feeling of sickness with an inclination to vomit.

8. Vomiting: Some people might vomit, and it could sometimes contain blood.

9. Swelling or Fluid Build-up in the Abdomen: Also known as Ascites, this could cause discomfort or pain.

10. Anemia: If the stomach cancer is bleeding, it can lead to anemia, causing symptoms like fatigue, weakness, and breathlessness.

11. Difficulty Swallowing: Known as dysphagia, people might experience discomfort while swallowing.

Many of these symptoms can also be caused by conditions other than stomach cancer, such as stomach viruses or ulcers. However, if you find these symptoms persisting or worsening, consult with a healthcare professional to rule out any serious conditions like stomach cancer. If you suspect you might have stomach cancer or have any risk factors, it’s crucial to get screened regularly.

Diagnosis Stomach cancer

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is a disease characterized by an uncontrollable growth of cells in the stomach that results in the formation of a tumor. This type of cancer typically develops slowly over many years.

There are five main types of stomach cancer:

1. Adenocarcinoma: This type accounts for about 90% to 95% of all stomach cancers. It usually starts in the inner-most layer (the mucosa) of the stomach wall.

2. Lymphoma: These are cancers of the immune system tissue that are sometimes found in the wall of the stomach. They account for about 4% of stomach cancers.

3. Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST): This is a rare kind of cancer that starts in very early forms of cells in the wall of the stomach.

4. Carcinoid tumor: This is a rare form of stomach cancer that begins in the hormone-producing cells of the stomach.

5. Squamous cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma, and leiomyosarcoma: These are very rare types of stomach cancer.

Early diagnosis of stomach cancer can be challenging because it often does not cause specific symptoms until it has advanced. However, when symptoms occur, they can include indigestion, stomach discomfort, nausea, lack of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, vomiting, or bleeding (visible or in the stool). In more advanced stages, the cancer may metastasize, spreading to other parts of the body.

The precise cause of stomach cancer is unknown, but several risk factors increase the chance of developing it. They include certain infections (such as H.pylori), prolonged inflammation and conditions like gastritis and anemia, certain dietary factors, smoking, certain types of stomach surgery, and genetics.

The diagnosis of stomach cancer is usually confirmed through gastroscopy and biopsy, where a camera is used to investigate the inside of the stomach and samples of tissue are taken for laboratory testing. Other diagnostic tests can include CT scans, MRI, PET scans, and endoscopic ultrasounds. Treatment is based on how advanced the cancer is and may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy, or a combination thereof.

Treatment of Stomach cancer

Stomach (gastric) cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the stomach. The treatment of stomach cancer can involve a combination of various methods, mainly depending on the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed. Here’s a brief overview:

1. Surgery: This is the most common treatment for stomach cancer and there are several types, including:

Gastrectomy: Surgery to remove part (subtotal gastrectomy) or all (total gastrectomy) of the stomach.
Lymphadenectomy: A procedure to remove the lymph nodes around the stomach.
Palliative surgery: This may be done to alleviate symptoms or complications caused by advanced cancer.

2. Chemotherapy: This involves the use of drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells. It can be given before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy), to shrink the tumour and make surgery more effective, or after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy), to kill any remaining cancer cells. It can also be used when surgery isn’t an option, to relieve symptoms and extend life.

Stomach cancer

3. Radiation Therapy: This method uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to destroy cancer cells. Like chemotherapy, it can be used before surgery to shrink the tumor, or after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells.

4. Immunotherapy: This is a treatment that uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Certain types of stomach cancer, especially those that have spread or come back, might be treated with immunotherapy drugs.

5. Targeted Therapy: This type of treatment targets the changes in cancer cells that help them grow, divide, and spread. Several targeted therapies can be used in the treatment of stomach cancer, usually combined with chemotherapy.

6. Supportive (Palliative) Care: In many cases, stomach cancer is advanced when it’s found and curing it might not be possible. But treatments might still be used to reduce symptoms, such as pain or bleeding. In such cases, the patient’s comfort and quality of life are the main goals.

Remember every patient is unique and treatment plans will vary depending on the patient’s situation. It’s important to hold discussions with the healthcare provider to understand the available options. Also, seeking second opinions can sometimes be helpful in decision-making processes.

It must be noted that treatment of stomach cancer has side effects and it’s important that patients communicate effectively with their healthcare providers so these side effects are managed properly.

Medications commonly used for Stomach cancer

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, can sometimes be treated using different types of drugs. Here are some medications commonly used:

1. Chemotherapy Drugs: These are used to kill the cancer cells and can either be taken orally or injected intravenously. The drugs include 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU), Epirubicin, Cisplatin, Oxaliplatin, Docetaxel, Capecitabine, Irinotecan, Carboplatin, and Paclitaxel.

2. Targeted Therapy Drugs: These are designed to target specific characteristics of cancer cells, such as a protein that allows the cancer cells to grow in a rapid or abnormal way. Examples include Trastuzumab (Herceptin) for HER2-positive stomach cancers, Ramucirumab (Cyramza) for advanced stomach cancer, and Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for stomach cancers that have a high number of mutations (hypermutated tumors).

3. Immunotherapy Drugs: These drugs help to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer cells more effectively. For instance, Nivolumab (Opdivo) and Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) are types of immunotherapy used for advanced stomach cancer.

4. Hormone Therapy Drugs: While not typically used against stomach cancer, hormone therapy may be used if the cancer cells have receptors for specific hormones.

It’s important to note that the use of drugs in treating stomach cancer depends on numerous factors like the type, location, and stage of cancer, patient’s general health, etc. Therefore, the treatment plan will be personalized to fit the specific requirements of each patient.

As with all medications, these drugs can have side effects. Make sure to consult with your healthcare provider about the possible complications and side effects of your medications. Also, it’s crucial to remember that medications are only part of the comprehensive treatment plan which may also include surgery, radiation therapy, and lifestyle adjustments, among others.

Prevention of Stomach cancer

Preventing stomach cancer often involves regular screening, diet modification, and lifestyle changes. Here are some recommendations:

1. Regular Check-ups: Regular screenings, especially for those who have a family history of stomach cancer or for those over the age of 50, can help in early detection and prevention.

2. Healthy Diet: Consuming a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can reduce the risk of stomach cancer. Foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins, such as vitamin C and E, may also be beneficial.

3. Avoid Smoking: Smoking markedly increases risk for stomach cancer, so quitting is an important prevention step.

4. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Excess alcohol intake can increase the risk of stomach cancer. Moderate drinking or abstaining entirely can be helpful.

5. Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity can boost your immune system and help prevent various forms of cancer, including stomach cancer.

6. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity increases the risk of certain types of stomach cancer. Keeping a balanced diet and regular exercise routine can help maintain a healthy body weight.

7. Treat and Manage H. pylori Infections: Helicobacter pylori, often called H. pylori, is a bacterium that can cause infections in the stomach and is a leading cause of stomach ulcers, and its long-term presence can increase the risk of stomach cancer. Therefore, treating this infection can reduce this risk.

8. Limit Processed Foods and Salt: High intake of salty and processed foods, smoked meats and pickles are associated with a higher risk of stomach cancer. Opt for fresh foods when you can.

Remember, consulting your healthcare provider or a dietitian can guide you with more personalized measures based on your health status and conditions.

FAQ’s about Stomach cancer

1. What is stomach cancer?
Stomach or Gastric cancer is cancer that starts in the stomach, specifically in the mucus-producing cells lining the stomach.

2. What are the symptoms of stomach cancer?
Typical symptoms can include appetite loss, unintentional weight loss, stomach pain, bloating, indigestion, nausea, vomiting (with or without blood), swallowing difficulties, jaundice, and anemia.

3. How is stomach cancer diagnosed?
Stomach cancer is diagnosed through medical history evaluation, physical examination, and several tests, including endoscopy, biopsies, blood tests, Imaging tests like CT scan, PET scan, and stomach X-ray.

4. What are the risk factors of stomach cancer?
Some risk factors for stomach cancer include age (over 55), gender (males are more susceptible), ethnicity (Asian, especially Japanese), a diet high in salty or processed foods and low in fruits and vegetables, H. pylori bacterial infection, stomach inflammation, family history, and certain genetic conditions.

5. How is stomach cancer treated?
Treatment depends on the stage and location of the cancer and may include surgery to remove part or whole of the stomach, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy.

6. Can stomach cancer be prevented?
While you can’t prevent stomach cancer entirely, certain lifestyle changes can lower the risk, like maintaining a healthy diet, reducing the intake of salty and processed foods, quitting smoking, treating H. pylori infection, and regularly checking for any abnormalities if you have a family history of the disease.

7. Does stomach cancer spread?
Yes, like other cancers, stomach cancer can spread to other parts of the body. It can metastasize through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to organs like the liver, lungs, bones, or other tissues.

8. What is the survival rate for stomach cancer?
Survival rates can vary greatly depending on the stage at diagnosis and overall health of the patient. Earlier detection often results in a better prognosis.

Please consult with a healthcare professional for a more comprehensive understanding and personalized advice.

Useful links

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is a type of cancer that begins in the stomach. Research and studies surrounding gastric cancer can be found in various scientific journals. Below are some links to studies, research, and articles related to stomach cancer:


Please note that access to some of these articles may require purchase or access through a scientific library.

Complications of Stomach cancer

Stomach or gastric cancer refers to cancer that starts in the stomach. While it is relatively rare in the United States, it is common in many other parts of the world. Here are some potential complications that may arise from stomach cancer:

1. Difficulty Eating: As the tumor grows in the stomach, it narrows the stomach’s opening, making it more difficult for food and liquid to pass. This can result in difficulty eating and drinking, weight loss and malnutrition over time.

2. Bleeding: Stomach cancer can also cause bleeding in the digestive system which can lead to fatigue, weakness, and anemia. In severe cases, it may cause vomiting of blood or black, tar-like stools.

3. Obstruction: Large tumors may entirely or partially block the passage of food from the stomach to the small intestine, causing severe nausea, vomiting, particularly after eating and other discomfort.

4. Metastasis: This is among the most serious complications. Stomach cancer can spread to nearby lymph nodes, tissues and organs such as the liver, pancreas and colon. As the disease progresses, it may spread to distant organs like the lungs or the bones.

5. Peritoneal Dissemination: This is when cancer spreads to the membrane lining the walls and organs of the abdomen. This can cause problems with bowel movements, among other issues.

6. Non-cancerous complications: Additional complications can include side effects from treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. These can include infection, adverse reactions to medications, damage to other organs, and slow recovery.

7. Emotional and Psychological Complications: Like any serious illness, stomach cancer, its symptoms and treatment can result in depression, anxiety, and other emotional and psychological challenges.

8. Fluid Build-Up: Some stomach cancers may cause ascites – a buildup of fluid in the abdomen. This can result in bloating, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and breathlessness.

These complications often require immediate medical attention and varied treatment approaches. It is important for individuals diagnosed with stomach cancer to work closely with a healthcare provider to manage symptoms and properly address potential complications.

Home remedies of Stomach cancer

It’s important to note that there are no home remedies or alternative therapies that have been proven to cure stomach cancer. Stomach cancer is a serious, life-threatening condition that requires professional medical treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or targeted drug therapy.

However, certain home care routines and lifestyle changes can aid in managing the symptoms and side effects of the treatment:

1. Healthy diet: A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help support the body during treatment.

2. Physical activity: Regular exercise, if approved by your oncologist, can keep your body stronger and improve your mood and overall health.

3. Adequate rest: Good sleep supports your immune system and allows your body to recover.

4. Alcohol and tobacco: Avoid alcohol and tobacco. They can trigger the development of new cancer cells, interfere with treatment, and worsen symptoms.

5. Regular screening: If you have a high risk of stomach cancer, e.g., due to certain genetic conditions, regular screening can help catch any new cancer early.

6. Reduce stress: Techniques like meditation or yoga can help reduce stress and maintain a positive mindset.

7. Hydration: Stay well-hydrated, especially if you are undergoing therapies like chemotherapy, which can cause dehydration.

It is crucial to remember that these natural supports should be used in conjunction with, not instead of, traditional medical treatment. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new health regimen.

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Last Update: January 13, 2024