Exactly What Is Stomach Cancer
Also known as gastric cancer, stomach cancer is a disease that occurs when cells in the stomacha hollow, muscular organ that receives and digests foodundergo abnormal changes that cause them to grow and divide uncontrollably. The excess cells then bind together and form tumors, which may grow deep into the stomach walls or invade nearby organs, such as the liver and pancreas.
In most cases, gastric cancer starts in the stomach lining, typically the innermost tissue layer known as the mucosa, which contains gastric glands that secrete digestive acids and enzymes.
What Is Stomach Cancer In Dogs
Stomach cancer in dogs is a tumor that develops as a result of the uncontrolled growth of cells in the stomach. When the normal cells in the stomach lining or muscle layer turn into cancerous ones, the result is stomach tumor formation.
The cancer cell growth in the stomach is also known as gastric carcinoma, gastric tumors, or canine gastric cancer. As with all tumors, stomach cancer in dogs can be benign or malignant. Malignant stomach cancer in dogs is more common and can spread to other parts of the body and sections of the gastrointestinal tract.
Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer in dogs usually become apparent in the advanced stages. For this reason, this form of dog cancer has a very poor prognosis and is known as a silent killer.
Compared to other cancers in the canine companion , stomach cancer is not a common type of cancer. It accounts for less than 1% of total canine cancer cases. Stomach cancer in dogs can take different forms such as gastric adenocarcinoma, leiomyosarcoma, lymphoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, mast cell tumors, extramedullary plasmacytoma, adenomatous polyps, etc.
Causes Of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer is caused by changes in the cells of the stomach, although it’s unclear exactly why these changes occur.
Cancer begins with a change in the structure of the DNA in cells, which can affect how they grow. This means cells grow and reproduce uncontrollably, producing a lump of tissue called a tumour.
Left untreated, cancer can spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymphatic system .
Once the cancer reaches your lymphatic system, it’s capable of spreading to other parts of your body, including your blood, bones and organs.
It’s not known what triggers the changes in DNA that lead to stomach cancer and why only a small number of people develop the condition.
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How Serious Is My Cancer
If you have stomach cancer, the doctor will want to find out how far it has spread to help decide what type of treatment is best for you. This is called the stage of the cancer. The tests above are used to help stage the cancer.
The stage describes the growth or spread of the cancer in the stomach or into nearby areas. It also tells if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body that are farther away.
Your cancer can be stage 1, 2, 3, or 4. The lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number means the cancer has spread more. Be sure to ask the doctor about the cancer stage and what it means for you.
Are There Known Risk Factors For Gastric Cancer
As with any type of cancer, its important to consider that having certain risk factors may increase the odds of developing the disease, but its hardly a foregone conclusion. Knowing about the risk factors for stomach cancer is a good first step toward making informed lifestyle and health care choices.
With that said, the following factors are thought to raise a persons risk of developing gastric cancer:
- Age Most people diagnosed with stomach cancer are in their 60s and 70s.
- Gender Men are about twice as likely to develop stomach cancer as women.
- Medical history People with an H. pylori infection that has caused stomach inflammation and ulcers have a higher risk of developing stomach cancer. Those with close family members who have had stomach cancer or an H. pylori infection are advised to be tested for the bacteria and undergo treatment if it is discovered. Also, anyone who has had certain stomach-weakening conditions, including pernicious anemia or achlorhydria, has a higher risk of developing gastric cancer.
- Family history/genetics People with a close relative that has had stomach cancer are considered to have a higher risk for the disease, and certain inherited genetic disorders can increase the risk as well.
- Race/ethnicity Some studies have indicated that Black, Hispanic and Asian populations may have up to a 50% higher risk for gastric cancer than white people.
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What Is Gastric Cancer
Normally, cells in the body will grow and divide to replace old or damaged cells. This growth is highly regulated, and once enough cells are produced to replace the old ones, normal cells will stop dividing. Tumors occur when there is an error in this regulation and cells continue to grow uncontrolled.
Gastric cancer, or stomach cancer, is cancer of the stomach. Gastric cancer occurs when cells in the lining of the stomach grow uncontrollably and form tumors that can invade normal tissues and spread to other parts of the body. Cancers are described by the types of cells from which they arise. About 90-95% of gastric cancers arise from the lining of the stomach, called adenocarcinoma. There are other cancers that can arise in the stomach, including gastrointestinal stromal tumors , lymphoma, and carcinoid tumors, among others.
Where Do These Numbers Come From
The American Cancer Society relies on information from the SEER* database, maintained by the National Cancer Institute , to provide survival statistics for different types of cancer.
The SEER database tracks 5-year relative survival rates for stomach cancer in the United States, based on how far the cancer has spread. The SEER database, however, does not group cancers by AJCC TNM stages . Instead, it groups cancers into localized, regional, and distant stages:
- Localized: There is no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the stomach.
- Regional: The cancer has spread outside the stomach to nearby structures or lymph nodes.
- Distant: The cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, such as the liver.
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What Are The Causes And Risk Factors Of Abdominal Cancer
The exact cause of abdomen cancer is unknown, but some lifestyle factors and habits can increase the risk of developing abdominal cancer, such as:
- Conditions that compromise the digestive track
- Family history of gastrointestinal problems and cancers
- Sedentary lifestyles
- Certain ethnic groups have a high risk of developing gastrointestinal cancer
Certain genetic syndromes can also increase the risk of developing abdominal cancers. Familial adenomatous polyposis, mutations on the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes, hereditary hemochromatosis, and the presence of the DPC gene are genetic factors that could increase your risk for developing gastrointestinal cancers.
How Is It Diagnosed
Since people with stomach cancer rarely show symptoms in the early stages, the disease is often not diagnosed until its more advanced.
Diagnosing stomach cancer involves receiving a physical exam to check for any abnormalities. A doctor may also look for possible bleeding in the stomach by using a test to check for blood in your stool along with a blood test to look for anemia.
More diagnostic tests for stomach cancer may need to be done if your doctor believes you show signs of the disease. Diagnostic tests specifically look for suspected tumors and other abnormalities in the stomach and esophagus. These tests may include:
- an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy
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Living And Coping With Benign Tumors
Many benign tumors can be left alone if they show no symptoms and create no complications. Youll be told to simply keep an eye on it and watch for changes.
If you dont have your tumor removed, your doctor may have you come in for routine exams or imaging scans to ensure that the tumor isnt growing larger.
As long as the tumor isnt causing you pain or discomfort, and it isnt changing or growing, you can live with a benign tumor indefinitely.
Signs Of Stomach Cancer
People dont usually notice early stomach cancer symptoms because they resemble symptoms of other health problems. Stomach cancer symptoms are the same in both men and women, although men are more likely to get the disease.
There is no single first sign of stomach cancer, but the first warning signs are usually gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, loss of appetite and abdominal discomfort that lasts for several days.
People no longer feel hungry and ultimately start losing weight without trying. Thats probably the most concerning symptom. Dr. Kevin El-Hayek, surgeon, Cleveland Clinic
- Yellowing of eye and skin
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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 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.
Why Choose The University Of Kansas Cancer Center For Stomach Cancer Diagnosis And Treatment
For a diagnosis as crucial as stomach cancer, there are many benefits to trusting our cancer team with your care. Our cancer center is 1 of only 71 NCI-designated cancer centers nationwide, and we have experts for diagnosing and treating stomach cancer. We are a pioneer in new clinical trial research that leads to innovative treatments. In addition, our hospital continues to rank as the best in Kansas City and in Kansas according to U.S. News & World Report.
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How To Get Diagnosed
Detecting this disease is difficult, like many other cancer diseases. But by noticing the changes in your body, how you feel every day, and especially the stools, you can easily see if something is wrong with you. If there are signs of stomach cancer that worry you a lot, go to the doctor for a consultation. Then, they may ask you to do different tests to ensure they are correct with the diagnosis.
If your suspicion is correct and it is a symptom of stomach cancer, early detection helps you get better and live longer. Remember that early diagnosis and treatment before cancer has spread has a 5-year survival rate of 70%. Although it is relatively small, that number is better than those who are not treated and die after a few years. You can prevent stomach cancer by eating healthy foods, avoiding smoking and excessive drinking, and treating stomach infections.
Survival For All Stages Of Stomach Cancer
For people with stomach cancer in England:
- more than 45 out of 100 people will survive their cancer for 1 year or more
- more than 20 out of 100 people will survive their cancer for 5 years or more
- more than 15 out of 100 people will survive their cancer for 10 years or more
Cancer survival by stage at diagnosis for England, 2019Office for National Statistics
These statistics are for net survival. Net survival estimates the number of people who survive their cancer rather than calculating the number of people diagnosed with cancer who are still alive. In other words, it is the survival of cancer patients after taking into account that some people would have died from other causes if they had not had cancer.
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What Causes Stomach Cancer
Your stomach is just one part of the upper section of your digestive tract. Your stomach is responsible for digesting food and then moving the nutrients along to the rest of your digestive organs, namely the small and large intestines.
Stomach cancer occurs when normally healthy cells within the upper digestive system become cancerous and grow out of control, forming a tumor. This process generally happens slowly. Usually, stomach cancer develops over many years.
There are several factors that might increase your risk of developing cancerous cells in your stomach. These risk factors include certain diseases and conditions, such as:
- H. pylori bacterial infections
- tumors in other parts of the digestive system
- inherited genetic syndromes, such as Lynch syndrome and Li-Fraumeni syndrome
Stomach cancer is also more common among:
- older adults, usually people in their 60s and older
- people who are overweight or with obesity
- people with a family history of the disease
- people who are of Asian , South American, or Eastern European descent
While your personal medical history can impact your risk of developing stomach cancer, certain lifestyle factors can also play a role. You may be more likely to get stomach cancer if you:
- eat a lot of salty or processed foods
- weight loss without a clear cause
Very Early Stage Cancers
These cancers are still only in the inner lining layer of the stomach and have not grown into deeper layers of the stomach wall.
Very early stage cancers can typically be treated by surgery, with either subtotal gastrectomy or total gastrectomy . Nearby lymph nodes are removed as well.
Some small stage 0 cancers can be treated by endoscopic resection. In this procedure the cancer and some layers of the stomach wall are removed through an endoscope passed down the throat. This procedure is done more often in countries like Japan, where stomach cancer is often detected early during screening. It is rare to find stomach cancer so early in the United States, so this treatment has not been used as often here. If it is done, it should be at a cancer center that has experience with this technique.
If the results of surgery show that all of the cancer has been removed, the person can usually be followed closely, without needing any further treatment. If its not clear that all of the cancer has been removed, chemotherapy and radiation are likely to be recommended. Another option might be a more extensive surgery to remove the cancer.
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Stomach Cancer Risk Factors
Although the exact cause of stomach cancer is not known, certain factors seem to increase your risk of developing the disease. These include:
Gender: The majority of stomach cancer patients are male.
Age: Most individuals who develop stomach cancer are older than 55, although stomach cancer can be diagnosed in younger individuals. According to the National Cancer Institute, the median age at diagnosis is 68 years old.
Ethnicity: In the United States, stomach cancer occurs more often in Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and Asian/Pacific Islanders than in non-Hispanic whites.
Geography: Stomach cancer is more prevalent in Japan, China, Southern and Eastern Europe, and Central and South America than in Northern and Western Africa, South Central Asia, and North America. This may be due to differences in diet, the rate of infection with Helicobacter pylori , and the environment.
Infection with Helicobacter pylori : This type of bacteria is a common cause of stomach ulcers and may cause chronic inflammation in the stomach lining. This sometimes leads to pre-cancerous changes in cells, increasing the risk of stomach cancer.
Exposure to chemicals: People who work around certain chemicals have a higher risk for stomach cancer. These include:
- Those working in the rubber, metal, coal and timber industries
- Those who have been exposed to asbestos fibers
Obesity: People who are obese have a higher risk of cancer in the part of the stomach nearest the esophagus.
- Pernicious anemia
Having Another Type Of Cancer
Your risk of developing stomach cancer is increased if you’ve had another type of cancer, such as cancer of the oesophagus or non-Hodgkin lymphoma .
For men, the risk of getting stomach cancer is increased after having prostate cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer or testicular cancer. For women, the risk of developing stomach cancer increases after having ovarian cancer, breast cancer or cervical cancer.
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Surgery To Remove Your Stomach
You may need to have part or all of your stomach removed.
Surgery to remove part of your stomach is known as a partial or sub-total gastrectomy, and surgery to remove all of your stomach is known as a total gastrectomy. In some cases, your surgeon may remove part of your oesophagus as well as all of your stomach, using a procedure known as an oesophagogastrectomy.
These operations may be carried out using either a large incision in your tummy , or a number of smaller incisions through which surgical tools can be passed . Both of these techniques are carried out under general anaesthetic, which means you’ll be unconscious throughout the procedure.
During these operations, your surgeon will also remove the lymph nodes nearest to the cancer. It’s possible that your stomach cancer may have spread to these lymph nodes, and removing them helps prevent the cancer returning.
How Do You Feel When You Have Stomach Cancer
Feeling full: Many stomach cancer patients experience a sense of fullness in the upper abdomen after eating small meals. Heartburn: Indigestion, heartburn or symptoms similar to an ulcer may be signs of a stomach tumor. Nausea and vomiting: Some stomach cancer patients have symptoms that include nausea and vomiting.
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