What Are The Signs Of Gastric Cancer
It is not common to have symptoms of stomach cancer until the cancer is quite advanced. If you do develop symptoms, you may have:
- Weight loss can be related to poor appetite or early satiety .
- Discomfort and pain in the belly.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Enlarged belly from fluid buildup.
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the underarms, belly button, and clavicle .
The symptoms of stomach cancer can be the symptoms seen in many other illnesses such as peptic ulcer disease and gastritis. Often, treatment for these conditions will be tried first, as these are much more common than gastric cancer. If your symptoms continue, it is important to talk with your provider about further testing.
Why Is There No Cure
During most of the 20th century, the number of people killed by cancer every year relative to population size, or the cancer death rate rose steadily to its peak in 1991, according to the ACS’s most recent summary of the state of cancer in the U.S. Since 1991, the cancer death rate has fallen by 31%, which is equivalent to 3.2 million fewer cancer deaths compared with the death rate in 1991.
The study authors attribute the decrease in cancer death rates to reductions in smoking, earlier detection and better treatments for some cancers. “We have made a lot of progress in the fight against cancer,” Siegel said.
Yet despite all that progress, a wholesale “cure for cancer” remains elusive for many reasons. The first issue is that cancer is not just one disease that could be eradicated with one cure. Instead, it’s hundreds of diseases, Siegel explained. “We would need hundreds of different types of cures to cure all cancer,” she said.
Another reason it’s hard to cure cancer is that the bar for cancer being cured is incredibly high. Cancer is cured if there are no traces of it in the body and it will never come back, according to the NCI, or is not expected to come back, according to the ACS. But even when all traces of a cancer have disappeared, there’s no way of knowing with certainty that it won’t return.
Gastric Cancer Is A Disease In Which Malignant Cells Form In The Lining Of The Stomach
The stomach is a J-shaped organ in the upper abdomen. It is part of the digestive system, which processes nutrients in foods that are eaten and helps pass waste material out of the body. Food moves from the throat to the stomach through a hollow, muscular tube called the esophagus. After leaving the stomach, partly-digested food passes into the small intestine and then into the large intestine.
The wall of the stomach is made up of 3 layers of tissue: the mucosal layer, the muscularis layer, and the serosal layer. Gastric cancer begins in the cells lining the mucosal layer and spreads through the outer layers as it grows.
Stromal tumors of the stomach begin in supporting connective tissue and are treated differently from gastric cancer.
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Could I Get A Second Cancer After Treatment
People whove had stomach cancer can still get other cancers. They do not get second cancers at an increased rate overall, but they do seem to have an increased risk of cancers of the thyroid and small intestine.
Experts do not recommend any additional testing to look for second cancers in people whove had stomach cancer. Still, its important to let your doctor know about any new symptoms or problems you have, because they could be caused by the stomach cancer coming back, or by a new disease or second cancer.
Like other people, survivors of stomach cancer should follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer and stay away from tobacco products, which increase the risk of many types of cancers.
To help maintain good health, survivors should also:
- Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
- Stay physically active and limit time spent sitting or lying down.
- Follow a healthy eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and that limits or avoids red and processed meats, sugary drinks, and highly processed foods.
- Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do drink, have no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 per day for men.
These steps may also lower the risk of some other health problems.
Assessing The Extent And Spread
If you are confirmed to have stomach cancer, further tests may be done to assess if it has spread. For example, a barium meal X-ray, a computerised tomography scan, a magnetic resonance imaging scan, an ultrasound scan, laparoscopy or other tests. This assessment is called staging of the cancer.
The aim of staging is to find out:
- How much the tumour in the stomach has grown, and whether it has grown partially or fully through the wall of the stomach.
- Whether the cancer has spread to local lymph nodes.
- Whether the cancer has spread to other areas of the body .
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Cancer Is More Likely To Be Fatal When It’s Metastatic Meaning It Has Spread Throughout The Body
You might have heard of metastatic cancer but not known exactly what it means.
Metastatic cancer happens when cancerous cells disperse into surrounding tissues or even travel to other parts of the body through the blood or lymph systems, according to the NCI. These cells can then form tumors in their new locations.
Even though metastatic cancer has by definition moved from its point of origin, its still considered a form of that primary cancer, the NCI explains. So, if you had ovarian cancer that spread to your stomach, it would be considered metastatic ovarian cancer, not stomach cancer.
Its often this spreadand its impact on one or several major organsthat ultimately kills someone, Jack Jacoub, M.D., medical oncologist and medical director of MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, tells SELF. For this reason, cancer staging is largely dependent on how extensively the cancer has traveled. Stage IV cancer, the most severe form, means the cancer has wound up in distant body parts.
But metastatic cancer doesnt kill people in any one specific way. Instead, this disease can take a few avenues to end someones life.
What Types Of Complications From Cancer Can Be Life Threatening
Depending on the organ in which it starts, cancer thats diagnosed and treated in the early stages is usually not life threatening.
Cancer can kill when it invades essential organs, like your liver, lungs, or brain, and stops them from functioning properly.
These complications could be due to primary cancer that starts in an essential organ, such as brain cancer. Or it could be cancer that has metastasized from one area to another. For example, breast cancer that has spread to the lungs.
As cancer spreads throughout the body, it becomes more difficult to control. Some types of cancer tend to spread slowly. Other types spread more aggressively.
Lets take a closer look at some of the complications that cancer can cause.
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Diagnosis Of Gastric Cancer
It is difficult to make a diagnosis when this cancer is in its early stage because of absence of symptoms. A doctor will rely on a physical exam and blood tests initially. If he suspects stomach cancer, he will probably recommend an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. This is to look for any suspected tumour growth and abnormalities in the stomach and oesophagus. He may also ask you to undergo a biopsy and get imaging tests like CT scans and X-rays done.
Since this cancer shows no symptoms in the early stages, you can go for a screening test if you think you are at risk. Here, your doctor will ask you to undergo a physical examination, blood and urine tests, X-rays and CT scans. In addition, you may also be asked to go in for some genetic tests.
Resources For Further Information
SEER Statistics, Stomach Cancer,
NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines, Gastric Cancer, www.nccn.org
American Cancer Society, Stomach Cancer,
Boku, N. . HER2-positive gastric cancer. Gastric Cancer, 17, 1-12.
Cervantes, A., Roda, D., Tarazona, N., Roselló, S., & Pérez-Fidalgo, J. A. . Current questions for the treatment of advanced gastric cancer. Cancer Treatment Reviews, 39, 60-67.
Fock, K. M. . Review article: the epidemiology and prevention of gastric cancer. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 40, 250-260.
Lordick, F., Allum, W., Carneiro, F., Mitry, E., Tabernero, J., Tan, P., … & Cervantes, A. . Unmet needs and challenges in gastric cancer: the way forward. Cancer Treatment Reviews, 40, 692-700.
McLean, M. H., & El-Omar, E. M. . Genetics of gastric cancer. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 11, 664-674.
Mickle, M. . Gastric Cancer. In Yarbro C.H, Wujcik, D. & Gobel, B.H. . Cancer Nursing (pp. 1683-1695. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
Orditura, M., Galizia, G., Sforza, V., Gambardella, V., Fabozzi, A., Laterza, M. M., … & Lieto, E. . Treatment of gastric cancer. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20, 1635-1649.
Oliveira, C., Pinheiro, H., Figueiredo, J., Seruca, R., & Carneiro, F. . Familial gastric cancer: genetic susceptibility, pathology, and implications for management. The Lancet Oncology, 16, e60-e70.
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How To Lower Your Risk
As a society, we eat a lot of processed and unhealthy foods that cause these benign symptoms that we have. We really need to shift back to a cleaner, mostly plant-based diet, says Dr. El-Hayek. Theres no doubt that the data supports a diet thats rich in fresh vegetables, minimal fruit and minimal meat, especially processed meat. Avoiding these toxic foods will not only decrease a persons risk for cancer development, but also the digestive symptoms from eating them.
Patients May Want To Think About Taking Part In A Clinical Trial
For some patients, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice. Clinical trials are part of the cancer research process. Clinical trials are done to find out if new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard treatment.
Many of today’s standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical trials. Patients who take part in a clinical trial may receive the standard treatment or be among the first to receive a new treatment.
Patients who take part in clinical trials also help improve the way cancer will be treated in the future. Even when clinical trials do not lead to effective new treatments, they often answer important questions and help move research forward.
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How Can Cancer Kill You
Many people have questions about how cancer can kill you. Its something that most people worry about it at some point.
We know that talking about this can be difficult. You can save to read this information another time when you feel ready. And its ok if you dont want to read this information at all.
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.
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What Is Stomach Cancer In Cats
Cancer refers to the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in the body. Stomach cancer, then, refers to a cancerous mass that grows within the stomach. Stomach cancer in cats may occur as an isolated mass, or may be a component of more widespread disease that affects the entire digestive tract.
There are several different types of cancer that can affect the stomach. Each type of stomach cancer has a different prognosis and will best respond to different types of treatment. Therefore, accurately diagnosing the type of stomach cancer is essential for treatment.
Treatment For Stomach Cancer
Treatment for stomach cancer depends on the stage of the cancer, your age, medical history, nutritional needs and general health.
You might feel confused or unsure about your treatment options and decisions. Its okay to ask your treatment team to explain the information to you more than once. Its often okay to take some time to think about your decisions.
Surgery is the main treatment for stomach cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body. Surgery aims to remove all of the stomach cancer while keeping as much normal tissue as possible. There are two main types of surgery for stomach cancer:
- Endoscopic resection very early-stage tumours that have not spread from the stomach walls may be removed with a long, flexible tube that is passed down your throat and oesophagus, and into your stomach.
- Gastrectomy this procedure removes all or part of the stomach, leaving as much healthy tissue as possible.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill or slow the growth cancer cells. For stomach cancer, chemotherapy is often given before surgery to shrink large tumours and destroy any cancer cells that may have spread. It may also be used after surgery to reduce the chance of the cancer coming back.
Targeted therapy is a type of drug treatment that attacks specific parts of cancer cells to stop the cancer growing and spreading. Targeted therapy is only available for certain types of stomach cancer.
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Types Of Stomach Cancer
The most common type of stomach cancer is adenocarcinoma of the stomach . This cancer starts in the glandular tissue found on the stomachs inner surface.
Other less common types of cancer can affect the stomach including small cell carcinomas, lymphomas, neuroendocrine tumours and gastrointestinal stromal tumours. Your doctor will be able to explain more about these types of stomach cancer.
Tests That May Be Done
Here are some of the exams and tests you may need:
Tests to look for bleeding: The doctor might order a blood test to check for a low red blood cell count, which could be caused by the cancer bleeding into the stomach. A test might also be done to look for blood in your stool that can’t be seen by the naked eye, which could also be a sign of bleeding in the stomach.
Upper endoscopy or EGD: This is the test most often done if you might have stomach cancer. For this test, a bendable, thin tube with a tiny light and video camera on the end is put in your mouth and passed down into your throat and stomach. If there are any spots that look like cancer, small pieces of them can be taken out through the tube and checked for cancer cells.
Endoscopic ultrasound : This test can be done during an upper endoscopy. A small probe is placed on the tip of the thin tube that is passed down the throat into the stomach. It uses sound waves and their echoes to make pictures of the layers of the stomach wall. It can also be used to take out small pieces of abnormal areas that can be checked for cancer.
Upper GI series: This test is a series of x-rays taken after you swallow barium, a thick, chalky liquid that shows up on x-rays. This can show problems in the inner lining of the throat, stomach, and part of the small intestine.
CT or CAT scan: This test uses x-rays to make detailed pictures of your insides. This can show the size of the cancer and if it has spread.
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Next Group 2 Support For The Body
Liver support is especially important when cancer is in the liver, or if chemotherapy is being given. When used, it will greatly help reduce chemo side effects by enabling the liver to better process and eliminate chemo toxins.
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What About Other Treatments I Hear About
You might hear about other ways to treat the cancer or to treat your symptoms. These may not always be standard medical treatments. These treatments may be vitamins, herbs, special diets, and other things.
Some of these are known to help, but many have not been tested. Some have been shown not to help. A few have even been found to be harmful. Talk to your doctor about anything youre thinking about using, whether its a vitamin, a diet, or anything else.
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