Stomach Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Types and Treatments
Stomach cancer develops due to the growth of cancerous cells within the stomach's inner lining, called mucosa. Based on the World Cancer Report, there were approximately 57,000 cases of stomach cancer in India in 2018.
It is also considered one of the most common cancer cases in India. This is exactly why individuals need to gain correct knowledge about the same.
Go through this article to find out stomach cancer symptoms, types and other essential details.
Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Cancer
In its early stage, stomach cancer hardly shows any symptoms. Hence, it goes undetected.
Take a look at the following pre-cancerous conditions and signs to get timely diagnosis and treatment -
Early Symptoms of Stomach Cancer
Gastric epithelial dysplasia
It occurs when there is an abnormal change in cells present in the stomach lining (mucosa).
It is a kind of polyp made up of abnormal glandular cells found in the stomach lining.
Advanced stage symptoms are - Mild abdominal discomfort, Nausea, Vomiting, Anaemia, Bleeding.
Other advanced signs of stomach cancer are as follows -
- Frequent heartburn
- Excessive exhaustion
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling full after consuming a small meal
- Blood in stool
- Dysphagia or problem in swallowing food etc.
Note: Stomach cancer symptoms in a female and male are similar.
What Causes Stomach Cancer?
Though healthcare professionals have not identified what causes stomach cancer, there are associated risk factors that you need to consider. The risk factors are as follows -
- Excessive smoking and drinking
- Regular consumption of highly processed foods and meats
- Sedentary lifestyle
- People working in coal and metal industries.
- People with helicobacter pylori infections and chronic gastritis are more prone to stomach cancer.
- Pernicious anaemia
- Medical history of Epstein-Barr virus.
- Inherited breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and 2 (BRCA2)
- Inherited tumour suppressor gene, E-cadherin.
- Family medical history with adenomatous polyposis.
- Lynch syndrome
- Individuals suffering from pernicious anaemia are more likely to develop stomach cancer.
Age and Gender
- Individuals older than 50 years
- Male adults
Types of Stomach Cancer
Take a look at the following types of stomach cancer -
Approximately 90 to 95% of stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas. This develops in the gland cells present in the inner lining of the stomach. There are two types of adenocarcinomas -
Types of Stomach Cancer
It grows more rapidly and is difficult to treat.
The cancer cells undergo genetic changes and are easier to treat, unlike the diffuse type. It also has a better prognosis.
Types of Stomach Cancer
Gastrointestinal stromal tumours
This tumour can grow in any part of the digestive tract, but mainly they develop in the stomach. It begins in the stomach wall, interstitial cells of the Cajal.
It develops in the lymphocytes.
Neuroendocrine tumours (including carcinoid)
It develops in the cells found in the stomach or other parts of the digestive tract. These cells act like nerve or endocrine cells (for different parts).
What Are the Stages of Stomach Cancer?
Medical practitioners will prescribe the following tests for stomach cancer diagnosis -
1. MRI, CT and PET scan
3. Upper endoscopy
4. Upper GI series etc.
Now, healthcare professionals will stage adenocarcinomas or stomach cancer based on the spread of cancer to the stomach and other body parts. Take a look -
Stages of Stomach Cancer
Abnormal growth of cancer cells is diagnosed in the mucosa of the stomach wall.
Tumour is present in the stomach, and many have reached one or two lymph nodes.
Cancer cells spread deeper, reaching the inner linings of the stomach and nearby lymph nodes.
Cancer has spread entirely to the stomach and other body parts, including – spleen, pancreas etc.
The metastasised cancer cells spread to the other distant body parts – lungs, liver, bones etc. It is challenging to cure stage 4 stomach cancer.
5 Recommended Treatments for Stomach Cancer
Doctors prescribe treatments based on the origin and stage of stomach cancer. Here are the following treatments mentioned below -
It involves the removal of the tumour and nearby healthy tissues. The surgery depends on the stages of cancer. It is mainly recommended to patients in an early stage of cancer.
Doctors use high energy X-ray beams to destroy cancer cells.
Doctors use drugs like cisplatin, oxaliplatin etc., to destroy or reduce the growth of cancer cells.
The treatment targets specific cancer's genes or proteins and blocks the growth and spread of these cells.
Biologic or Immunotherapy
Doctors use a specific substance to boost the immune system of a patient and fight cancer.
Is Stomach Cancer Curable?
The 5-year stomach cancer survival rate if it is localised is 70%. However, at an advanced stage, it is approximately 6%. Hence, if you notice any stomach cancer symptoms, it is ideal for communicating with a reliable doctor. However, a phrase suggests "prevention is better than cure". Therefore, take a look at the 4 steps to stomach cancer prevention:
- Reduce smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Consume a healthy diet. Include whole grains such as oats, brown rice and proteins such as eggs, chicken etc., in your diet. Also, regular intake of fruit and vegetables is a must.
- Lead an active lifestyle and exercise regularly.
- Limit intake of sweets or added sugars.
According to the World Health Organisation, there are 30 to 50% chances of preventing stomach cancer by avoiding the risk factors. Hence, knowing stomach cancer symptoms and the risk factors are essential. It will help you to prevent it at the beginning or get timely treatment.