Tuesday, June 25, 2024

How Serious Is Stomach Cancer

Stage Iiia Iiib And Iiic

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Stage IIIA tumors have four possible conditions.

They may have:

  • Spread to the muscle wall and seven to 15 nearby lymph nodes, or
  • Spread to the subserosa and three to six lymph nodes, or
  • Spread to the serosa and one to six nearby lymph nodes, or
  • Spread to nearby organs including liver, colon, spleen, pancreas abdominal wall, adrenal glands, small intestine, back of the abdomen or kidney.

Stage IIIB tumors have three possible conditions.

They may have:

  • Spread to the submucosa or muscle layer and to 16 or more nearby lymph nodes, or
  • Spread to the subserosa or serosa and seven to 15 lymph nodes, or
  • Spread out of the stomach to nearby organs and to one to six nearby lymph nodes.

Stage IIIC tumors have two possible conditions.

They may have:

  • Spread to the subserosa or serosa and 16 or more nearby lymph nodes, or
  • Spread from the stomach to nearby organs and seven or more nearby lymph nodes.

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.

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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After A Diagnosis Of Stomach Cancer

After being diagnosed with a stomach cancer, you may feel shocked, upset, anxious or confused. These are normal responses. A diagnosis of a stomach or oesophageal cancer affects each person differently. For most it will be a difficult time, however some people manage to continue with their normal daily activities.

You may find it helpful to talk about your treatment options with your doctors, family and friends. Ask questions and seek as much information as you feel you need. It is up to you as to how involved you want to be in making decisions about your treatment.

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Serious Warning Signs Of Stomach Cancer


Stomach cancer is a malignancy that begins in the cells of an individual’s stomach, which are the cells responsible for producing mucus. Stomach cancer occurs when damage occurs in the DNA of one of the cells that give it the ability to grow faster, multiply quicker, and live longer. Certain infections, obesity, some inherited conditions, and smoking can increase the risk of stomach cancer. Stomach cancer can be diagnosed through a physical exam, blood tests, upper endoscopy, CT scans, barium swallow x-ray, or stomach biopsy.

Stomach cancer treatment may include surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and radiation therapy. A combination of these treatments is necessary to cure stomach cancer. Many patients will also need certain pain medications and other cancer medicines to assist them and make the journey easier.

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Faqs About Gastric Cancer

What is gastric cancer?

Gastric cancer refers to a malignant tumor arising from the stomach. Ninety percent of the cases of gastric cancer are adenocarcinomas . Sarcomas and lymphomas are less common. Gastric cancer is classified by the tissue type and location in the stomach. It is thought that gastric cancer develops in a multistep process. The earliest lesion is atrophic gastritis, followed by dysplasia, adenoma and then adenocarcinoma. Molecular and genetic events trigger these changes from step to step.

What causes gastric cancer?

The cause of gastric cancer is unknown. However, certain factors and conditions are linked to the development of gastric cancer including poor nutrition, poor sanitation and inadequate handling of food and water supplies. Untreated Helicobacter pylori may lead to development of gastric cancer. Gastric polyps may also be contributory. Pernicious anemia and atrophic gastritis may also increase the risk.

What are the symptoms of gastric cancer?

Often no symptoms appear until late in the disease process, then abdominal pain and weight loss are the first symptoms. Early satiety , nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty swallowing may be experienced . If the cancer has metastasized, symptoms may arise from the area to which the cancer has spread. Gastrointestinal bleeding occurs in about 20 percent of the cases.

How is gastric cancer diagnosed?

Can gastric cancer be prevented?

What is the treatment for gastric cancer?

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Inherited Versus Acquired Gene Mutations

Inherited mutations in some genes can increase a persons stomach cancer risk. But these are thought to cause only a small percentage of stomach cancers.

Most of the gene changes that lead to stomach cancer occur after birth. Some of these acquired mutations might be caused by risk factors such as H pylori infection or tobacco use. But other gene changes may just be random events that sometimes happen inside cells, without having an outside cause.

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Patients Can Enter Clinical Trials Before During Or After Starting Their Cancer Treatment

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Some clinical trials only include patients who have not yet received treatment. Other trials test treatments for patients whose cancer has not gotten better. There are also clinical trials that test new ways to stop cancer from recurring or reduce the side effects of cancer treatment.

Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country.

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How Is Gastric Cancer Staged

The stage of the cancer can be determined after your testing is done. The staging of a cancer describes how much cancer has grown within the stomach as well as if it has spread. This is very important in terms of what treatment is offered to each individual patient. The staging system used to describe gastric tumors is the “TNM system”, as described by the American Joint Committee on Cancer. The TNM systems are used to describe many types of cancers. They have three components

  • T-describes the size/location/extent of the “primary” tumor in the stomach.
  • N-describes if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes
  • M-describes if the cancer has spread to other organs .

The T, N, M, are then combined to come up with a stage from 0-IV, with IV being the most advanced. The staging system is very complex. The entire staging system is outlined at the end of this article. Though complicated, the staging system helps healthcare providers determine the extent of the cancer, and in turn, make treatment decisions for your cancer.

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:

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Early Symptoms Are Commonlyoverlooked

Early stomach cancer symptoms are typically so unremarkable that they go completely unnoticed.

Stomach cancer is one of those tricky diagnoses where most people may have retrospectively felt symptoms, but theyre usually vague symptoms that can be confused with many other benign gastrointestinal disorders.

Some of these early symptoms include:

  • Bloating.
  • Nausea.
  • A general feeling of discomfort.

Because these symptoms tend to be dismissed as normal GI issues and they are for most people when stomach cancer is finally diagnosed, its often in the advanced stages.

What Is Gastric Cancer

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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.

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Warning Signs And Symptoms

Weight loss is one of the main warning signs for serious bloating. If you find yourself losing more than a few pounds without changing your diet or starting a new exercise regimen, that should be cause for concern, especially if its 10 percent or more of your body weight. Weight loss can be caused by tumors that press on the intestines, making you feel full after just a small amount of food, or from substances secreted by tumors that suppress your appetite.

Ascites is an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen or pelvis. It can cause bloating, weight gain, and a rapidly expanding waistline. Ascites is usually caused by liver disease, but cancer is the culprit about 10 percent of the time. A large amount of fluid can make you look and feel like youre several months pregnant. The combination of bloating and jaundice, which turns the eyes and skin yellow, can be a sign of cancer thats spread to the liver, although it can also occur with more benign forms of liver disease like hepatitis.

Blood in your stool, vaginal bleeding in between periods, or postmenopausal vaginal bleeding can all be associated with serious bloating. Fortunately, the most common causes of these symptoms arent the most serious, but bleeding should always be evaluated because it can be a sign of cancer, particularly colon or uterine cancer.

Progression And Treatment Of Stomach Cancer

As with other cancers, stomach cancer can eventually spread to other parts of the body. The diseases progression is described in the following stages, which help doctors determine how to treat it:

  • Stage 0: The cancer is in the stomachs innermost lining.
  • Stage 1: The cancer has grown into deeper layers of the stomach and possibly also into the main muscle layer of the stomach wall.
  • Stage 2: The cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes or has grown completely through the stomachs muscle layer, but has not spread to other parts of the body.
  • Stage 3: The cancer has grown through the stomach wall or has spread to nearby organs or structures, but it has not spread to distant parts of the body.
  • Stage 4: The cancer has spread to distant organs, such as the lungs, liver, or brain.

Regional Cancer Care Associates has a knowledgeable and caring staff with the resources to provide the right diagnosis and an effective treatment plan. Treatment of stomach cancer may include surgery, use of chemotherapy drugs, targeted therapy, radiosurgery, and more.

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What Kind Of Doctor Treats Stomach Cancer

There is a that cares for people with stomach cancer:

  • Gastroenterologist: a doctor who specializes in the stomach and intestines
  • Surgical oncologist: a doctor who surgically removes cancer tumors and cancerous cells
  • Medical oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with oral or systemic medication
  • Radiation oncologist: a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation therapy
  • Pathologist: a doctor who evaluates cells, tissues and organs and performs other laboratory tests to diagnose disease
  • Radiologist: a doctor who uses imaging tests to diagnose disease

Depending on your condition and where you are in your treatment, you may meet with any one of these specialists at a given time.

How To Lower Your Risk

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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.

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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.

The Following Stages Are Used For Gastric Cancer:

Stage 0

In stage 0, abnormal cells are found in the inside lining of the mucosa of the stomach wall. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ.

Stage I

In stage I, cancer has formed in the inside lining of the mucosa of the stomach wall. Stage I is divided into stage IA and stage IB, depending on where the cancer has spread.

  • Stage IA: Cancer may have spread into the submucosa of the stomach wall.
  • Stage IB: Cancer:
  • may have spread into the submucosa of the stomach wall and is found in 1 or 2 lymph nodes near the tumor or
  • has spread to the muscle layer of the stomach wall.

Stage II

Stage II gastric cancer is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB, depending on where the cancer has spread.

  • Stage IIA: Cancer:
  • has spread to the subserosa of the stomach wall or
  • has spread to the muscle layer of the stomach wall and is found in 1 or 2 lymph nodes near the tumor or
  • may have spread to the submucosa of the stomach wall and is found in 3 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor.
  • Stage IIB: Cancer:
  • has spread to the serosa of the stomach wall or
  • has spread to the subserosa of the stomach wall and is found in 1 or 2 lymph nodes near the tumor or
  • has spread to the muscle layer of the stomach wall and is found in 3 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor or
  • may have spread to the submucosa of the stomach wall and is found in 7 or more lymph nodes near the tumor.
  • Stage III

  • Stage IIIB: Cancer has spread to:
  • Stage IV

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    Early Stage Stomach Cancer Symptoms

    It is common for people with early stage stomach cancer to experience no symptoms. However, as stomach cancer grows and spreads, it exhibits some telltale signs and symptoms, even while still in the early stages.

    Symptoms may include:

    • Abdominal pain or vague pain just above the belly button area
    • Indigestion, heartburn or vomiting
    • Loss of or decrease in appetite
    • Weakness or fatigue
    • Blood in vomit or stool
    • A feeling of fullness after small meals

    Many symptoms of early stage stomach cancer are also the symptoms of less serious stomach issues. If you are experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, it is important to see your doctor. The earlier we diagnose the cancer, the more successfully we can treat it.

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