Am I At Risk For Gastric Cancer
Each year, about 26,560 new cases of gastric cancer are diagnosed in the United States. The average age at diagnosis is 68. The number of people being diagnosed with gastric cancer has gone down greatly since the 1930s. The exact reason is not known. One theory is that the use of refrigeration has led to less use of nitrites, “smoking” of foods, and other such forms of food preservation.
Diets that consist of heavily salted, smoked, or pickled foods can increase your risk of gastric cancer. Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and dietary fiber can reduce your risk of gastric cancer. Tobacco use and heavy alcohol use can also increase the risk of gastric cancers. It also appears that people with blood type A are at higher risk for gastric cancer for an unknown reason.
There does appear to be a genetic link in some cases of gastric cancer. Some genetic diseases that can be linked to a higher risk of gastric cancer include
- Peutz Jeghers syndrome.
- Juvenile polyposis syndrome .
- Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer is an inherited genetic abnormality that is associated with an increased risk of developing gastric cancer. HDGC is caused by a mutation on the CDH1 gene. It is not known how many families carry the CDH1 mutation. Families that have had several cases of gastric cancer, particularly if they are the diffuse type, should consider genetic testing and screening options.
What Are The Main Causes Of Stomach Cancer
There is no single cause of stomach cancer and sometimes it happens without any known risk factors. Lifestyle choices can increase the likelihood of stomach cancer. However, those who experience long-term stomach inflammation from either lifestyle choices or chronic illness are at higher risk.
The are often related to a medical history that includes:
- H. pylori bacterial infections: A common stomach infection that often causes ulcers.
- Tumors: Other tumors occurring elsewhere in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Stomach polyps: Abnormal tissue growth in the stomach lining.
- Stomach reflex
There are lifestyle changes you can make that may decrease your risk of stomach cancer. These include:
- Having a healthy diet and avoiding
- Processed foods
- Salted foods or increased sodium
Risk factors for stomach cancer that you cannot change, include:
- Your age
- Being male
- Being of Asian, South American or Belarusian descent
- Having a family history of stomach cancer
- Having a history of stomach surgery
- Having pernicious anemia, which is a vitamin deficiency that may be related to either lifestyle or disease
Signs And Symptoms Of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer may not cause symptoms in the early stages and the symptoms of stomach cancer are usually common for other medical conditions. This is why stomach cancer is often diagnosed when the cancer is more advanced. There are several possible symptoms:
- Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite.
- Difficulty swallowing.
Having one or more of these risk factors doesnt mean you will develop stomach cancer. Often there is no clear reason for getting stomach cancer. If you are worried about your risk factors, ask your doctor for advice.
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Diagnosing And Treating Stomach Cancer In Connecticut Maryland And New Jersey
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, starts in the lining of the stomach and can spread to nearby organs or to other parts of the body. This type of cancer is relatively uncommon in the United States, accounting for 1.5% of all cancer diagnoses but also 1.8% of all cancer deaths. Stomach cancer is slow-growing and symptoms may not develop at first, but the disease often is discovered in its later stages, when more serious symptoms appear.
Because the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of stomach cancer are crucial, the experts at Regional Cancer Care Associates are ready to provide the highest quality of cancer care available for patients in Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey.
How Can I Prevent Gastric Cancer
Because there is no one risk factor directly associated with gastric cancer, there is no specific way to prevent it. However, there are ways to prevent cancer in general. These include a balanced diet low in smoked foods, pickled foods and preserved or heavily salted meats and fish. You should try to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Maintaining a healthy way of life and staying active can also help prevent cancer.
Avoid tobacco use. If you use tobacco, you should quit as tobacco use has been shown to cause many types of cancer. If you need help quitting, you should speak with your healthcare provider.
Since H. pylori infections have been linked to the development of gastric cancers, quick treatment of H. pylori infections may decrease the number of gastric cancers. However, if treating H. Pylori actually reduces the risk of gastric cancer remains controversial.
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What Are The Different Types Of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer, also known as , is the name for a category of cancer. There are many different types of stomach cancer:
- Adenocarcinoma: Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of gastric cancer, comprising more than 90% of all stomach cancers. Carcinoma that occurs in the innermost lining of the stomach.
- : Cancer of the immune system that accounts for 4% of all stomach cancer, which is not from the mucosa of the stomach lining. It is broken up into primary and secondary lymphoma of the stomach.
- Primary lymphoma involves the stomach and can eventually affect the lymph nodes, bone marrow and other parts of the body.
- Secondary lymphoma initially involves other parts of the body, like circulating blood, lymph nodes, bone marrow and other organs. Secondarily, cancer spreads to the stomach.
When To Call A Professional
You should see your doctor if you have symptoms of stomach cancer, such as heartburn, that persist or don’t respond to over-the-counter antacids. Some people should be particularly alert for symptoms of stomach cancer, including those who:
- use tobacco or alcohol
- have a family history of stomach cancer
- have a diet low in fruits and vegetables
- eat lots of cured, smoked, or salted meats.
Living With Advanced Cancer
Advanced cancer usually means cancer that is unlikely to be cured. Some people can live for many months or years with advanced cancer. During this time palliative care services can help.
Most people continue to have treatment for advanced cancer as part of palliative care, as it helps manage the cancer and improve their day-to-day lives. Many people think that palliative care is for people who are dying but palliative care is for any stage of advanced cancer. There are doctors, nurses and other people who specialise in palliative care.
Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy or another type of treatment. It can help in these ways:
- Slow down how fast the cancer is growing.
- Shrink the cancer.
- Help you to live more comfortably by managing symptoms, like pain.
Treatment depends on:
- How far it has spread.
- Your general health.
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.
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How Stomach Cancer Spreads
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.
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.
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Signs Of Stomach Cancer
People dont usually notice early stomach cancer symptoms because they resemble symptoms of other health problems. Stomach cancer symptoms are the same in both men and women, although men are more likely to get the disease.
There is no single first sign of stomach cancer, but the first warning signs are usually gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, loss of appetite and abdominal discomfort that lasts for several days.
People no longer feel hungry and ultimately start losing weight without trying. Thats probably the most concerning symptom. Dr. Kevin El-Hayek, surgeon, Cleveland Clinic
- Yellowing of eye and skin
Changes In Genes In Stomach Cancer Cells
Recent research has provided clues on how some stomach cancers form. For instance, H pylori bacteria, particularly certain subtypes, can convert substances in some foods into chemicals that cause mutations in the DNA of the cells in the stomach lining. This may help explain why certain foods such as preserved meats increase a persons risk for stomach cancer. On the other hand, some of the foods that might lower stomach cancer risk, such as fruits and vegetables, contain antioxidants that can block substances that damage a cells DNA.
Stomach cancers, like other cancers, are caused by changes in the DNA inside cells. DNA is the chemical that carries our genes, which control how our cells function. We look like our parents because they are the source of our DNA. But DNA affects more than how we look.
Some genes control when cells grow, divide into new cells, and die:
- Genes that normally help cells grow, divide, and stay alive can sometimes change to become oncogenes.
- Genes that help keep cell division under control, repair mistakes in DNA, or cause cells to die at the right time are called tumor suppressor genes.
Cancers can be caused by DNA changes that keep oncogenes turned on, or that turn off tumor suppressor genes.
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Could An Uptick In Antibiotic Use Be The Culprit
Constanza and her colleagues analyzed data on stomach cancer incidence in the United States and found that between 1995 and 2003, noncardia gastric cancer fell in the general population by 2.3 percent per year. However, when looking at cancer incidence by age, they found that rates for Americans under age 50 increased 1.3 percent per year. Women born in 1983, for example, had a twofold higher incidence of noncardia gastric cancer compared with women born in 1951.
Noncardia gastric cancer has two primary causes, Constanza says. It can be caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, a type of infection in the stomach, or by immune gastritis, a disorder in which the immune system attacks the lining of the stomach. Rates of Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori as it is commonly known, have declined in the U.S. over the past century, but cases of autoimmune gastritis have increased.
The increasing cases of noncardia gastric cancer may reflect changes in antibiotic prescribing patterns in the last half century, Constanza says. The uptick in cases in people younger than 50 began in the 1950s, when antibiotics became much more widely prescribed. Antibiotics, she notes, can influence the balance of healthy microbes in the intestines. The changes could trigger autoimmune gastritis, which increases the risk of cancer. Women are prescribed antibiotics more often than men, the authors noted.
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.
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Who Gets Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer mostly affects older people. The average age of people when they are diagnosed is 68. About 6 of every 10 people diagnosed with stomach cancer each year are 65 or older.
The lifetime risk of developing stomach cancer is higher in men than in women . But each person’s risk can be affected by many other factors.
Soft Tissue And Bone Cancers
Sarcomas are cancers that start in connective tissues such as muscles, bones, or fat cells. There are 2 main types of sarcoma:
- Soft tissue sarcomas
- Bone sarcomas
Sarcomas can develop at any age, but some types occur most often in older teens and young adults.
Soft tissue sarcomas: These cancers can start in any part of the body, but they often develop in the arms or legs. Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that starts in cells that normally develop into skeletal muscles, is most common in children younger than 10, but it can also develop in teens and young adults. Most other types of soft tissue sarcomas become more common as people age. Symptoms depend on where the sarcoma starts, and can include lumps , swelling, or bowel problems.
Bone sarcomas: The 2 most common types of bone cancer,osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma, are most common in teens, but they can also develop in young adults. They often cause bone pain that gets worse at night or with activity. They can also cause swelling in the area around the bone.
Osteosarcoma usually starts near the ends of the leg or arm bones. The most common places for Ewing sarcoma to start are the pelvic bones, the bones of the chest wall , or in the middle of the leg bones.
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How Is Gastric Cancer Treated
At this time, curative treatments for gastric cancer involve surgery . The smallest amount of surgery that is possible while still taking out all of the cancer is what is usually done. Often, tumors that are in the part of the stomach closest to the esophagus are treated with a gastrectomy . A total gastrectomy is often used to also treat cancer involving the entire stomach.
A partial gastrectomy is the removal of only part of the stomach. Partial gastrectomies may be used in those with tumors that are further from the esophagus, in the distal portion of the stomach.
It is important that an experienced surgeon performs this procedure, as it is a difficult surgery. When the stomach or a portion of the stomach is removed, the two ends must be rejoined. This is done in various ways, with the goal being to eliminate as many of the side effects of the surgery as possible. Side effects can include not being able to eat larger meals and dumping syndrome. Dumping syndrome occurs when the small intestine fills too quickly with undigested food as a result of the stomach being removed. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, and even shortness of breath. These symptoms can usually be managed with changes to the diet.
Symptoms Of Stomach Cancer
Understanding the symptoms of stomach cancer is the first step in detecting and properly diagnosing the disease. In most cases, the common symptoms of stomach cancer are caused by another condition, such as an ulcer, virus, or bacterial infection. Consult your doctor, however, if you have symptoms that get worse or persist, such as:
- Poor appetite
- A diet high in smoked foods, salted or cured fish and meats, and certain preservatives
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Stage Iiia Iiib And Iiic
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.