Surgery To Ease Your Symptoms
If your stomach cancer has spread beyond your stomach, it may not be possible to remove it using surgery.
However, if your stomach has been significantly affected by cancer it can cause a blockage, which prevents food from being properly digested. A blocked stomach can cause symptoms such as stomach pain, vomiting and feeling very full after eating.
If your stomach is blocked, there are a few options:
- stenting a stent is a plastic or wire mesh tube inserted through the oesophagus using an endoscope under local anaesthetic after being inserted, the stent will be expanded and open up the stomach
- partial or total gastrectomy to remove the blockage and improve your symptoms
What Happens If Youve Been Told Your Cancer Cannot Be Cured
If you have advanced stomach cancer, it might be very hard to treat. It may not be possible to cure the cancer.
If this is the case, the aim of your treatment will be to limit the cancer and its symptoms, and help you live longer.
Finding out the cancer cannot be cured can be very hard news to take in.
You will be referred to a special team of doctors and nurses called the palliative care team or symptom control team.
They will work with you to help manage your symptoms and make you feel more comfortable.
The clinical nurse specialist or palliative care team can also help you and your loved ones get any support you need.
Age Diet And Stomach Disease Can Affect The Risk Of Developing Gastric Cancer
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. Risk factors for gastric cancer include the following:
- Having any of the following medical conditions:
- Eating a diet high in salted, smoked foods and low in fruits and vegetables.
- Eating foods that have not been prepared or stored properly.
- Being older or male.
- Having a mother, father, sister, or brother who has had stomach cancer.
You May Like: What’s On The Right Side Of Your Stomach
Diagnosis Of Stomach Cancer
If your doctor thinks you may have stomach cancer, you will be referred for further tests. The main test is an endoscopy . The doctor will use a thin, flexible tube with a camera , which passes into the mouth, down the throat and oesophagus into the stomach in order to look at the digestive tract.
If any suspicious-looking areas are detected, a small amount of tissue from the stomach lining may be removed and examined under a microscope. Less commonly used is an endoscopic ultrasound where the endoscope has an ultrasound probe at the end.
How To Prevent Stomach Cancer
There are no guaranteed ways to prevent stomach cancer which is often called gastric cancer. It is the same for stomach cancer. You can lower your gastric cancer risk by following a healthy diet and stomach cancer prevention factors. Not just for stomach cancer, but to be free from any other diseases, you must avoid the risk factors and focus more on the protective factors.
Recommended Reading: How Can You Get Your Stomach To Stop Hurting
Laser Therapy Or Stent
Laser therapy can be used to destroy tumors, stop bleeding, or alleviate a blockage in the stomach.
This can sometimes be accomplished without surgery.
The doctor inserts a long, flexible tube called an endoscope down the throat and into the stomach to deliver the laser beam. This is also called endoscopic tumor ablation.
Hollow tubes called stents can sometimes help. By placing a stent between the stomach and esophagus or between the stomach and small intestine, food will be able to pass through unobstructed.
When Do Signs And Symptoms First Appear
Typically, cancer signs and symptoms first appear when the cancerous tumor or mass has grown large enough that it begins to push against nearby organs and tissue, blood vessels, and nerves.
This can lead to pain, a change in how the nearby organs function, or both. A brain tumor pressing against the optic nerve will affect vision, for example.
Some cancers are fast moving, such as liver and pancreatic cancers. Prostate cancer, however, is usually slow moving. This is why many older men with prostate cancer forego treatment theyre more likely to die with prostate cancer than because of it.
Screenings for certain cancers should be part of your normal preventive healthcare. These include cancers of the:
Your age, sex, family history, and your own medical history will dictate when routine screenings should begin and how often they should be done.
If youre concerned about symptoms associated with various cancers, then you shouldnt hesitate to see your doctor. You can connect to a physician in your area using the Healthline FindCare tool.
You May Like: What To Eat To Help Lose Stomach Fat
How To Tell If Your Symptoms Are Serious
Most of the time, these symptoms are caused by something else, but its best to get them checked out, so if you do need treatment, you can get it as soon as possible.
If you experience nausea, bloating, weight loss and lack of appetite, Dr. Joyce recommends you see your doctor for testing.
Other factors can increase your risk of developing stomach cancer, too, like:
- Helicobacter pylori infection.
- Age .
- A diet high in smoked foods, salted fish and cured meats.
- A family history.
What Are Symptoms Of Gastric Cancer
Stomach cancer may not cause any symptoms in its earlier stages. Some symptoms of stomach cancer, such as early satiety , mild belly pain and fatigue are common, and similar tosymptoms of other, less serious conditions.
However, some symptoms are more suggestive of stomach cancer. If you experience any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, you should see a gastroenterologist:
Other diagnostic procedures include endoscopy with biopsy and endoscopic ultrasound.
Recommended Reading: Can Stress Cause Stomach Pain
Changes In Bowel Habits
Changes in bowel habits, including diarrhea and constipation, are common occurrences that everyone experiences at one time or another. But persistent changes, including intermittent bouts of constipation and diarrhea, may be early signs of stomach cancer.
Cancer itself can alter digestion and lead to these problems. At the same time, as the malignancy spreads, it can cause the narrowing of the intestinal passageway and the onset of constipation. The accumulation of fluid behind the stricture can eventually cause the release of watery diarrhea, typically accompanied by acute abdominal pain.
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.
To make a diagnosis, your doctor will first perform a physical exam to check for any abnormalities. They may also order a blood test, including a test for the presence of H. pylori bacteria.
More diagnostic tests will need to be done if your doctor believes that you show signs of stomach cancer. Diagnostic tests specifically look for suspected tumors and other abnormalities in the stomach and esophagus. These tests may include:
- an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy
NCI , around 30 percent of all people with stomach cancer survive at least five years after being diagnosed.
The majority of these survivors have a localized diagnosis. This means that the stomach was the original source of the cancer. When the origin is unknown, it can be difficult to diagnose and stage the cancer. This makes the cancer harder to treat.
Its also more difficult to treat stomach cancer once it reaches the later stages. If your cancer is more advanced, you may want to consider participating in a clinical trial.
Clinical trials help determine whether a new medical procedure, device, or other treatment is effective for treating certain diseases and conditions. You can see if there are any clinical trials of treatments for stomach cancer on the
Also Check: What Makes Your Stomach Stop Hurting
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.
Persistent Nausea Or Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are also common symptoms of stomach cancer. While there are a plethora of other conditions that cause nausea or vomiting, the persistence of symptoms is generally a sign of a more serious medical condition.
If symptoms are persistent or you vomit up bloodeven if just a small amountmake an appointment to see your healthcare provider right away. Bloody vomit, also known as hematemesis, may be a sign of cancer or a noncancerous condition like a peptic ulcer, severe GERD, or esophageal varices.
Bleeding from the stomach can also give vomit a coffee ground-like appearance. This is more typically seen when stomach cancer is advanced but can also be the result of conditions affecting the esophagus or other parts of the upper gastrointestinal tract.
A gastric hemorrhage is a medical emergency. If you are vomiting up a large amount of bloodmore than a few teaspoonsgo to the emergency room.
Recommended Reading: Why Does My Stomach Look Bloated All The Time
Surgery To Help Control The Symptoms Of Stomach Cancer
You may need surgery to relieve a blockage in the stomach. This helps food pass through your stomach more easily.
The aim of this surgery is to help improve your symptoms, not to cure the cancer.
Targeted cancer medicines aim to stop the cancer from growing.
You may have them with chemotherapy to treat advanced stomach cancer.
What Are Some General Signs And Symptoms Of Cancer
Most signs and symptoms are not caused by cancer but can be caused by other things. If you have any signs and symptoms that don’t go away or get worse, you should see a doctor to find out whats causing them. If cancer is not the cause, a doctor can help figure out what the cause is and treat it, if needed.
For instance, lymph nodes are part of the bodys immune system and help capture harmful substances in the body. Normal lymph nodes are tiny and can be hard to find. But when theres infection, inflammation, or cancer, the nodes can get larger. Those near the bodys surface can get big enough to feel with your fingers, and some can even be seen as swelling or a lump under the skin. One reason lymph nodes may swell is if cancer gets trapped there. So, if you have unusual swelling or a lump, you should see your doctor to figure out whats going on.
Here are some of the more common signs and symptoms that may be caused by cancer. However, any of these can be caused by other problems as well.
Sometimes, its possible to find cancer before you have symptoms. The American Cancer Society and other health groups recommend cancer-related check-ups and certain tests for people even though they have no symptoms. This helps find certain cancers early. You can find more information on early detection at the American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer.
Recommended Reading: How To Stop Burning In Stomach
Does Stomach Cancer Affect Men And Women Differently
It is important to look for signs of stomach cancer in adults over the age of 55. However, it most commonly affects those in their 60s or 70s. While it is crucial to be aware of the signs of stomach cancer in females, men are more likely to develop stomach cancer. In 2020, 16,980 men and 10,620 women are projected to be diagnosed with the disease. Men have a lifetime risk of 1 in 95 of developing stomach cancer, while women have a 1 in 154 risk. The signs of stomach cancer in men are typically no different than in women.
What Happens At The Gp Appointment
The GP may feel your tummy.
They may ask you to give a poo or pee sample, or have a blood test.
The GP may refer you to see a specialist in hospital for more tests if they think you have a condition that needs to be investigated.
This may be an urgent referral, usually within 2 weeks, if you have certain symptoms. This does not definitely mean you have cancer.
Also Check: Does Depression Cause Stomach Pain
Certain Factors Affect Prognosis And Treatment Options
The prognosis and treatment options depend on the following:
- The stage of the cancer .
- The patients general health.
When gastric cancer is found very early, there is a better chance of recovery. Gastric cancer is often in an advanced stage when it is diagnosed. At later stages, gastric cancer can be treated but rarely can be cured. Taking part in one of the clinical trials being done to improve treatment should be considered. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI website.
Blood In Your Stool Or Vomit
While far from a sure sign of stomach cancerboth colitis and Crohns disease can cause bloody stoolblood in either your poop or your vomit demands a visit to a GI doctor.
If the bleeding is related to cancer, the blood in your stool is likely to look maroon or tarry black.
It looks that way because its been acted on by your digestive enzymes. If the blood is in your vomit, its more likely to look bright red, and it may have a coarse coffee grounds texture because it has been partially digested.
While blood in your stool can be a sign of other diseases, they all will need a trip to one of the gastric bypass surgery doctors or bariatric specialist.
Don’t Miss: What To Do When Your Stomach Hurts From Period
Unexplained Bleeding Or Blood
Unexplained bleeding can often be caused by something far less serious than cancer, but you should always report it to your doctor.
This includes blood in your poo or pee, and vomiting or coughing up blood – no matter how much or what colour . It also includes any unexplained vaginal bleeding between periods, after sex or after the menopause.
Can Stomach Cancer Go Undetected
Stomach cancer often goes undetected for many years. This is in large part because stomach cancer and the resulting symptoms tend to develop slowly, therefore failing to alert the individual that there may be an issue. Another reason why stomach cancer frequently goes undetected is that early-stage stomach cancer symptoms can also be caused by less serious conditions like constipation or gastroesophageal reflux disease , or even by something as simple as eating spicy or fatty foods. These early-stage stomach cancer symptoms include:
- Stomach pain or discomfort
- A bloated feeling after eating
- Loss of appetite
Once stomach cancer progresses to its later stages, it starts producing more severe symptoms that tend to be more of a cause for concern. These late-stage stomach cancer symptoms include:
- Vomiting blood
- Unexplained weight loss
Also Check: What Causes Stomach To Hurt After Eating
Stomach Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment At Moffitt
If youre concerned that you might have stomach cancer, you can entrust your care to the experts at Moffitt Cancer Center. The specialists in our Gastrointestinal Oncology Programwhich include surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, rehabilitation therapists and supportive care specialistswork together to diagnose malignancies and develop comprehensive treatment plans.
Contact Moffitt Cancer today to request an appointment. You can call us at or complete a new patient registration form online.
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 5 layers of tissue. From the innermost layer to the outermost layer, the layers of the stomach wall are: mucosa, submucosa, muscle, subserosa , and serosa. Gastric cancer begins in the mucosa 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. See the PDQ summary on Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors Treatment for more information.
For more information about cancers of the stomach, see the following PDQ summaries:
Read Also: What Foods Help With Stomach Pain
Medical History Physical Exam And Tests To Look For Bleeding
When taking your medical history, the doctor will ask about your symptoms and possible risk factors to see if they might suggest stomach cancer or another cause. The physical examcan give your doctor information about possible signs of stomach cancer or other health problems. In particular, the doctor will feel your belly for anything abnormal.
The doctor might order a blood test to look for anemia , 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.
If your doctor thinks you might have stomach cancer or another type of stomach problem, he or she will likely refer you to a gastroenterologist , who will examine you and might do further testing.