Tuesday, July 23, 2024

How To Get Checked For Stomach Cancer

Total Gastrectomy Or Oesophagogastrectomy

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If your cancer is in the middle or at the top of your stomach, you may need to have a total gastrectomy. If the cancer is close to the end of your oesophagus, where it meets your stomach, you may need to have an oesophagogastrectomy.

If you have a total gastrectomy, the end of your gullet will be joined to the top of your jejunum . If you have an oesophagogastrectomy, the remaining part of your gullet will be joined to your jejunum.

General Principles Of Cancer Screening In Settings Of An Organized Program

The effectiveness of a population-based cancer screening program can be measured by reduction of mortality from a specific cancer, the results depending on the extent of organization, i.e., how well different components of a screening process are associated. In 1968 and on behalf of WHO, Wilson and Jungner defined the criteria for screening of a disease. In addition to the epidemiology, and disease management issues, the accuracy of the test-system in parallel to cost-efficacy considerations were listed in the criteria. High sensitivity of the screening test is one key aspect in not missing cases of the disease at a curable stage. Organized cancer screening is the most effective approach for achieving the target, and IARC has defined the features with which such a program has to comply.

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.

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Should I Check My Breasts Or Chest

It is good to be breast aware. This means getting to know what your breasts or chest usually look and feel like, so you know whats normal for you. This includes knowing what your breasts are like at different times of the month.

But there is no need to worry about regularly checking your breasts or chest at a set time or in a set way. Research has shown that women who regularly self-check their breasts arent any less likely to die from breast cancer. But they are almost twice as likely to have an unnecessary test on a lump that turns out not to be cancer.

Remember, its still important to listen to your body and tell your doctor if youve noticed any unusual lumps or other changes that arent normal for you. Whether its your breasts, nipples or any other body part, if somethings not quite right , get it checked out.

You can read more about breast changes to look out for on our signs and symptoms page.

How Stomach Cancer Spreads

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There are 3 ways stomach cancer can spread:

  • directly the cancer can spread from the stomach into nearby tissues and organs, such as the pancreas, colon, small intestine and peritoneum
  • through the lymphatic system the lymphatic system is a series of glands located throughout your body, similar to the blood circulatory system the glands produce specialised cells needed by your immune system to fight infection
  • through the blood which can cause the cancer to spread from the stomach to other parts of the body, most commonly the liver

Stomach cancer that spreads to another part of the body is known as metastatic stomach cancer.

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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

Ask About Screening For Bowel Cancer

Early detection of bowel cancer greatly improves chances of successful treatment. Your risk of bowel cancer increases with age. If you are over age 50, you should be tested for bowel cancer every two years.

The National Bowel Screening Program, using FOBT, is offered free to all Australians aged 50-74 every two years. Cancer Council urges all eligible Australians to participate. Screening kits usually arrive within six months of your birthday.

Some people have known risk factors that put them at increased risk. If you do, your doctor will talk to you about regular surveillance.

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There Is No Standard Or Routine Screening Test For Esophageal Cancer

Although there are no standard or routine screening tests for esophageal cancer, the following tests are being used or studied to screen for it:


A procedure to look inside the esophagus to check for abnormal areas. An esophagoscope is inserted through the mouth or nose and down the throat into the esophagus. An esophagoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer.


The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer. Taking biopsy samples from several different areas in the lining of the lower part of the esophagus may detect early Barrett esophagus. This procedure may be used for patients who have risk factors for Barrett esophagus.

Brush cytology

A procedure in which cells are brushed from the lining of the esophagus and viewed under a microscope to see if they are abnormal. This may be done during an esophagoscopy.

Balloon cytology

A procedure in which cells are collected from the lining of the esophagus using a deflated balloon that is swallowed by the patient. The balloon is then inflated and pulled out of the esophagus. Esophageal cells on the balloon are viewed under a microscope to see if they are abnormal.


Fluorescence spectroscopy

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Diagnosis and Detection of Stomach Cancer

Finding cancer early improves your chances of successful treatment and long-term survival.

Look for:

  • lumps, sores or ulcers that don’t heal
  • unusual changes in your testicles changes in shape, consistency or lumpiness
  • coughs that don’t go away or show blood, a hoarseness that persists
  • weight loss that can’t be explained
  • moles that have changed shape, size or colour, or bleed, or an inflamed skin sore that hasn’t healed
  • blood in a bowel motion
  • persistent changes in toilet habits
  • urinary problems or changes.

These symptoms are often related to more common, less serious health problems. However, if you notice any unusual changes, or these symptoms persist, visit your doctor.

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How To Check For A Stomach Or Colon Cancer Is The Only Sure Way To Get Endoscopy

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Stomach Cancer: Advanced Diagnosis Options

In addition to taking a full family history and a physical examination, there are several advanced diagnosis methods we may use to help identify the presence of stomach cancer. This may include:

  • Fecal occult blood test to check for hidden blood in feces. Learn more about fecal occult blood test.
  • Upper endoscopy to check for presence of abnormal cells. Learn more about upper endoscopy.
  • Upper GI series, a diagnostic test and X-ray series of the digestive system. Learn more about upper GI series.
  • Helicobacter pylori test: H. pylori is a bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. We identify it through breath test or biopsy.
  • Laparoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive surgery to explore the inside of the abdomen. Learn more about laparoscopic surgery.

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How To Know The Symptoms Of Stomach Cancer

It is important to know the symptoms of stomach cancer to obtain the necessary treatment. Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is not as common in the United States as it is in other parts of the world. Symptoms of stomach cancer often tend to be ignored because people think they are suffering from other stomach problems. There are different reasons that cause stomach cancer. The most common type of stomach cancer is known as adenocarcinoma. Stomach cancer can be genetic. If you have relatives who have had stomach cancer then you could be at risk because the signs of stomach cancer are usually not noticeable until the disease is advanced. You should get regular check ups from your doctor, especially if you are over 40 years old. Those over 40 are more prone to stomach cancer. Those who are at risk of stomach cancer are heavy smokers, drinkers, people with excess sodium in their diet and /or a lack of antioxidants in their diet, and pernicious anemia. The treatment for stomach cancer involves surgery.

Identify the symptoms of a possible stomach cancer. The symptoms of stomach cancer are:

  • Loose and dark stools
  • Blood in stool
  • Diarrhea and indigestion.

The symptoms of stomach cancer may be common symptoms of other stomach problems. However, if symptoms persist you should get an appointment with your doctor.

In order to avoid stomach cancer there are several habits that can help prevent this disease.

Causes Of Stomach Cancer

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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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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.

Detecting Stomach Cancer Early

To find out whether stomach cancer is at the root of your digestive symptoms, you will need investigations such as an endoscopy and biopsy. This involves having a thin camera put down your throat, allowing doctors to look into your stomach and take a small tissue sample.

Since stomach cancer is quite uncommon, routine screening is not offered in most places. However, catching the cancer early will give you a much better chance of making a recovery. This is why it is important to be familiar with the symptoms of stomach cancer, and see your doctor if you have any of them for three weeks or more. The chances are it will be nothing serious, but there is only one way to know for sure.

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Stomach Cancer Screening In People At Average Risk

No major medical organizations in the United States recommend routine screening for stomach cancer in people at average risk. This is largely because this disease isnt common in the US, so the benefits of screening most likely would not outweigh the possible harms .

Because routine screening for stomach cancer is not done in the United States, most people are not diagnosed with stomach cancer until they have certain signs and symptoms that point to the need for medical tests.

In some countries in East Asia and South America, where stomach cancer is much more common, mass screening of the population has helped find many stomach cancers at an early, possibly more curable stage. However, its not clear if this has led to a lower number of stomach cancer deaths.

Stomach Cancer Screening In People At Increased Risk

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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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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.

Tumour Markers Blood Test

As well as blood tests to check your general health, your doctor may test for cancer markers. Markers are chemical substances that can show up in the bloodstream in some types of cancer.

For example, the markers CEA and CA 19-9 are sometimes raised in stomach cancer, as well as other cancers. But some people with stomach cancer do not have raised levels in their blood and they can be raised in non cancerous conditions.

If your tumour markers are raised at diagnosis, your doctor might check the levels again after treatment and as part of your follow up.

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Prevention Of Metachronous Cancer After Endoscopic Resection

Metachronous gastric cancer after endoscopic resection of the primary tumor can often be detected at another location within the stomach mucosa. The results of a multi-center study of metachronous gastric cancers after endoscopic resection demonstrated that H. pylori eradication decreases the risk of appearance of new gastric cancers, even in patients at the highest risk. They also suggested that H. pylori eradication was protective in patients with mucosal atrophy and IM. Conversely, some trials have demonstrated that the protective effect of H. pylori eradication on the incidence of gastric cancer is restricted to subgroups of patients without gastric mucosal atrophy or IM. A retrospective trial on metachronous GC in patients with early GC after endoscopic resection demonstrated a higher tumor incidence in the group with persistent H. pylori than the eradicated group. A study by Kato et al revealed that H. pylori eradication protects the stomach mucosa from the development of metachronous GC in patients after endoscopic resection, with significantly higher rates of the cancer in the control group than in patients after successful H. pylori eradication.

Does Stomach Cancer Affect Men And Women Differently

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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.

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Survival Rates Are Based On Research

Survival rates are based on studies with a large number of patients, so an averaged survival rate cannot predict any one person’s prognosis.

A five-year-survival rate of 70% may sound dismal, but the truth is that you very well may live a whole lot longer than five years. Some people are even cured of their stomach cancer. This is most likely to occur when the cancer is found at an early stage. Unfortunately, stomach cancer is often not found until it’s more advanced.

Survival numbers also vary according to cancer stage. For example, a large retrospective multicenter Italian study of patients with early gastric cancer published in 2006 reported long-term survival after surgical resection of 92%, 82%, 73%, and 27%, respectively, for patients with 0, 1 to 3, 4 to 6, and > 6 positive nodes. In recent years, the survival of gastric cancer has improved mainly for stage I-III.

The five-year survival rate for stomach cancer is simply a statisticit’s meant to guide you and your healthcare provider so you have an idea of what to expect, but it’s not supposed to be taken as a hard-and-fast rule.

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