Tests Are Used To Screen For Different Types Of Cancer When A Person Does Not Have Symptoms
Scientists study screening tests to find those with the fewest harms and most benefits. Cancer screening trials also are meant to show whether early detection helps a person live longer or decreases a person’s chance of dying from the disease. For some types of cancer, the chance of recovery is better if the disease is found and treated at an early stage.
Grading And Classifying Stomach Cancer
To find out the grade of stomach cancer, the pathologist looks at a tissue sample from the stomach under a microscope. The pathologist gives stomach cancer a grade from 1 to 4. The lower the number, the lower the grade.
The grade is a description of the differentiation of the cancer cells. Differentiation is how the cancer cells look and behave compared to normal cells.
Low grade means that the cancer cells are well differentiated. They look and act much like normal cells. Lower grade cancer cells tend to be slow growing and are less likely to spread.
High grade means that the cancer cells are poorly differentiated, or undifferentiated. They look and act less normal, or more abnormal. Higher grade cancer cells tend to grow more quickly and are more likely to spread.
Knowing the grade gives your healthcare team an idea of how quickly the cancer may be growing and how likely it is to spread. This helps them plan your treatment. The grade can also help the healthcare team predict how you might respond to treatment.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer doesnt typically cause symptoms during the early stages. Even the most common early signs of stomach cancer often unexplained weight loss and stomach pain dont usually show up until the cancer is more advanced.
Symptoms of stomach cancer include:
- Loss of appetite.
- Black stool or vomiting blood.
- Feeling bloated or gassy after eating.
- Stomach pain, often above your belly button.
- Feeling full even after eating a small meal or snack.
Many of these symptoms are common in other conditions, too. See your provider to check if your symptoms are a sign of stomach cancer or another disease.
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Stomach Cancer Symptoms To Be Aware Of
Recognizing the symptoms of stomach cancer early could potentially save your life. Here is what to look out for and what to do if you notice any of these signs:
Heartburn or Indigestion
Heartburn and indigestion are caused by an excess of stomach acid irritating the stomach or coming up into the esophagus. They can cause a burning pain in the chest or stomach area and will usually be worse after eating. You may also find that you burp more than normal.
Heartburn and indigestion are very common and there are many different causes. Most of the time, these symptoms will be nothing to worry about, but if they go on for longer than three weeks, you should get them checked out, even if they seem to get better with medication.
Difficulty swallowing is also known as dysphagia. You might get a burning sensation when you swallow or find that food gets stuck in your throat easily.
Dysphagia can be caused by a narrowing of the esophagus which is harmless, but it can also be an early symptom of stomach cancer. So if you are having difficulty swallowing, ask your doctor to investigate and see what is going on.
One of the early symptoms of stomach cancer is a pain in the stomach area or under the breastbone. It might be there all the time or get worse after eating.
Nausea or Vomiting
There may be blood in the vomit which could either be bright red or dark brown. However, sometimes there may not be any noticeable bleeding.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
If youre at increased risk of stomach cancer, speak with your provider about the pros and cons of regular screenings. Otherwise, keep tabs on your symptoms. Many of the symptoms associated with stomach cancer may be signs of another condition. Only your provider can make a definitive diagnosis.
See your provider if you have symptoms like stomach pain and unexplained weight loss with or without symptoms, like:
- Trouble eating.
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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.
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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What Will Happen After Treatment
If you’ve completed treatment, youll be glad when it’s over. But it can be hard not to worry about cancer coming back. Even when cancer never comes back, people still worry about it.
For years after treatment ends, it will still be important to see your cancer doctors. Follow-up is needed to watch for treatment side effects and to check for cancer that has come back or spread. Be sure to go to all of your follow-up visits. During these visits, they will ask about symptoms and examine you. If you’re having symptoms, you might need to get lab tests, imaging tests, or an endoscopy.
At first, follow-up visits may be every few months. Over time, the visits might be needed less often. Your cancer care team can tell you more about these visits, when you might need to contact them if problems come up, and what else to expect after treatment.
Stomach Cancer Screening Patient Version
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Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormaltissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread.
Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to get certain types of cancer. They also study the things we do and the things around us to see if they cause cancer. This information helps doctors recommend who should be screened for cancer, which screening tests should be used, and how often the tests should be done.
It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screening tests are given when you have no cancer symptoms.
If a screening test result is abnormal, you may need to have more tests done to find out if you have cancer. These are called diagnostic tests.
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How Is Stomach Cancer Diagnosed
Your provider will review your medical history, ask about your symptoms and perform a physical exam that may involve feeling for a mass in your stomach. They may order several tests to diagnose and stage stomach cancer.
Staging allows your provider to assess how much the cancer has spread. With stomach cancer, staging ranges from 0 to IV . Stage 0 means the cancer hasnt spread beyond your stomach lining. Stage IV means that its spread to other organs.
Providers dont screen for stomach cancer in the U.S. because its so rare. Still, if you have a condition that increases your risk, your provider may recommend regular procedures like an upper endoscopy to detect cancerous changes. Ask your provider about their recommendations based on your risk.
/10what Is Gastric Cancer
Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is due to the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells on the inner lining of the stomach. Cancer manifests depending on the type of cancer and the cell type or the organ affected.
Stomach cancer rarely produces warning signs in the initial stages or the signs can be vague or ill-defined. Gastric cancer has been linked with one skin eruption, especially on the face. It can usually occur in the early stages of the disease.
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Screening For Stomach Cancer
Unfortunately, theres no recommended screening test for spotting earlygastric cancer in the general population. However, Ngamruengphong saysdoctors use upper endoscopy to screen for and detect stomach cancer inpeople at high risk for developing the disease.
Theres no standard guideline on who to screen for stomach cancer, so webase screening recommendations on patients risk for developing thiscancer. Based on what we find, we determine how often patients shouldundergo follow-up screenings, she says.
Factors that Ngamruengphong considers when identifying at-risk patientsinclude:
- Ethnicity : First- and second-generation immigrants from East Asia, Russia and South America are considered higher risk. Those areas see more cases of stomach cancer than the United States.
- Family history : Having a family member with stomach cancer increases risk.
- Race : Non-Caucasians are at higher risk.
- Smoking history : Smoking increases the risk of stomach cancer.
- Physical health and genetics : Certain types of gastric infection and hereditary syndromes, such as Lynch syndrome and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, also increase stomach cancer risk.
Early Stages Of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer usually doesn’t have symptoms, and it often goes undiagnosed until it’s at a later stage.
Your doctor diagnoses stomach cancer through a physical exam followed by a biopsy or endoscopy.
- A biopsy is minor surgery to remove a piece of the abnormal tissue for study under a microscope.
- During an endoscopy, the doctor inserts a small tube with a camera down the throat to see into the stomach.
Doctors stage stomach cancer based on:
- The tumor size.
- The number of lymph nodes involved.
- If it has spread to other parts of the body.
They call this TNM staging.
Stomach cancer staging is as follows:
- Stage 0 early cancer hasn’t grown into deeper layers of the stomach.
- Stage I the cancer has grown into the stomach wall’s inner layers or the outer muscle layers. It may have also spread to one or two lymph nodes.
- Stage II the tumor has grown into deeper layers of the stomach wall. Cancer has spread to some lymph nodes but not to other parts of the body.
- Stage III the tumor is larger, growing through layers of the stomach and into connective tissue outside the stomach. The cancer has spread to some lymph nodes but hasn’t spread beyond the stomach.
- Stage IV the cancer has spread to other organs beyond the stomach.
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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, they will likely refer you to a gastroenterologist , who will examine you and might do further testing.
What Are The Treatments For Stomach Cancer
Treatments for stomach cancer may include one or more of the following:
- Surgery, called gastrectomy, removes all or part of the stomach, as well as some of the tissue surrounding the stomach. Lymph nodes near the stomach are also removed and biopsied to check for cancer cells. For stage zero through stage 3 stomach cancer, surgery provides the only real chance for a cure at this time.
- Chemotherapyis the use of anticancer drugs. This may be used before and after surgery or for cancers that have spread to other organs. Prior to surgery, chemotherapy — with or without radiation — is sometimes used to shrink the tumor or to make an inoperable tumor suitable for surgery .
- Radiation therapyis the use of ionizing X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. This is used with chemotherapy before or after surgery and sometimes both. It can also be used to relieve symptoms in those with localized cancer or to relieve localized symptoms in persons whose cancer has metastasized .
If treated at an early stage before it spreads, stomach cancer may be associated with a long survival. A patient whose tumor is removed completely has a good chance of surviving at least five years. Unfortunately, by the time most cases of stomach cancer are diagnosed, the cancer has spread to local lymph nodes or other organs. Only about three patients diagnosed with stomach cancer that has spread to nearby lymph nodes or structures will survive five years.
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/10other Early Signs To Look For
Apart from the skin condition, first signs of gastric cancer include poor appetite, sudden weight loss, abdominal pain and discomfort or swelling in the abdomen. Other signs of the disease include heartburn, indigestion, nausea and vomiting, which could be with or without blood. You may also feel full too soon after eating only a small amount of food. Low hemoglobin can also be a sign of stomach cancer.
Gastric Cancer Types Symptoms And Risks
Gastric cancer or cancer of the stomach is the fourth most common cancer in the world.
It’s less common in the United States.
Diagnoses of around 21,000 new stomach cancer cases each year have stayed about the same since 2005. And, fewer people in the U.S. die from the disease.
At UPMC Hillman CancerCenter, we offer state-of-the-art treatments for people with gastric cancer. Our team of specialists work together to accurately diagnose your cancer and design a tailored treatment plan to meet your unique needs.
Even if you’ve received stomach cancer screening or care at another center, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center has treatment options for you.
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How Endoscopy Detects Stomach Cancer
In the early stages ofstomach cancer, many patients experience few or no symptoms. Because the lack of symptomsmakes stomach cancer difficult to detect, doctors often diagnose thedisease at more advanced stages. By that point, it is more challenging totreat.
Johns Hopkins gastroenterologistSaowanee Ngamruengphong, M.D., explains how doctors look at the stomach lining without performingsurgery. The endoscopic procedure helps screen high-risk patients anddiagnose this disease earlier.
Stomach Cancer Screening In People At Increased Risk
The benefits of screening might outweigh the risks in some people who are at increased risk for stomach cancer because they have certain risk factors . For example, upper endoscopy might be recommended at regular intervals in these people.
If you have risk factors that might increase your risk of stomach cancer, talk to your doctor about the possible pros and cons of stomach cancer screening for you.
Screening isn’t usually recommended for people in families with hereditary diffuse gastric cancer . Instead, doctors often recommend that people who have changes in the CDH1 gene that causes this syndrome consider having their stomach removed , because their risk of stomach cancer is very high.
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How Is Stomach Cancer Treated
Treatment depends on how far your cancers spread, your health and treatment preferences. It often involves a care team that includes your primary care provider, a cancer specialist and a gastrointestinal specialist . They can advise you on treatment options.
Depending on how much the cancers spread, your provider may recommend surgery to remove precancerous cells, a tumor, or all or part of your stomach.
- Upper endoscopy: In the early stages, when the cancer is limited to your stomach’s superficial layers, the cancer can be removed through an upper endoscopy. In this procedure , a gastroenterologist cuts the tumor from your stomach wall and removes it through your mouth.
- Gastrectomy. Once the tumor spreads beyond your stomach’s superficial layers, you’ll need surgery to remove all or part of your stomach. Subtotal gastrectomy removes the part of your stomach affected by the cancer. Total gastrectomy removes your entire stomach. Your provider will connect your esophagus to your small intestine so that you can still eat following total gastrectomy.
Additional treatments attack cancer cells directly.
/10risk Factors Of Gastric Cancer
The majority of people diagnosed with the condition tend to be over 60 years of age. One of the major risk factors of stomach cancer is your diet. A diet high in salty, smoked and pickled foods and a diet low in fruits and vegetables can increase your risk of developing stomach cancer.
Risk factors for the condition also include a history of persistent stomach irritation or inflammation, previous stomach surgery, or a family history of the disease. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, obesity and smoking can also increase ones chances of gastric cancer.
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