Testing For Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer is usually discovered when someone goes to the doctor after noticing some of the symptoms shared above. To confirm the diagnosis, the following tests can be administered:
- Upper endoscopy
- Computed tomography scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging scan
- Positron emission tomography scan
- Chest X-ray
Indigestion That Doesn’t Go Away And Burping
You can get indigestion when acid from the stomach goes back up into the food pipe . Or you can get it if you have any irritation in your stomach. This often happens after eating .
Remember, indigestion is common and it’s not usually caused by cancer. Indigestion and heartburn can be very painful, even if nothings seriously wrong. See your doctor if youve had heartburn most days for 3 weeks or more.
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.
Learn more about best stomach cancer care:
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Stomach Cancer Risk Factors
Some risk factors can be attributed to lifestyle and therefore can be changed. However, there are also risk factors that cannot be controlled. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease, but scientists have found several risk factors that make a person more likely to get stomach cancer. They are:
- Genderit is more common in men than women.
- More common in those of Hispanic, African, Native American and Pacific Islander descent than Caucasians.
- People with mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma have an increased risk.
- Diets with high amounts of smoked foods, salted meat and fish, and pickled vegetables.
- Smoking increases risk
- Being overweight or obese is a possible cause of gastric cancers.
Treatment For Stomach Cancer
Treatment for stomach cancer depends on the stage of the cancer, your age, medical history, nutritional needs and general health.
You might feel confused or unsure about your treatment options and decisions. Its okay to ask your treatment team to explain the information to you more than once. Its often okay to take some time to think about your decisions.
Surgery is the main treatment for stomach cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body. Surgery aims to remove all of the stomach cancer while keeping as much normal tissue as possible. There are two main types of surgery for stomach cancer:
- Endoscopic resection very early-stage tumours that have not spread from the stomach walls may be removed with a long, flexible tube that is passed down your throat and oesophagus, and into your stomach.
- Gastrectomy this procedure removes all or part of the stomach, leaving as much healthy tissue as possible.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill or slow the growth cancer cells. For stomach cancer, chemotherapy is often given before surgery to shrink large tumours and destroy any cancer cells that may have spread. It may also be used after surgery to reduce the chance of the cancer coming back.
Targeted therapy is a type of drug treatment that attacks specific parts of cancer cells to stop the cancer growing and spreading. Targeted therapy is only available for certain types of stomach cancer.
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How Do You Know If You Have Cancer
There are over 200 different types of cancer that can cause many different symptoms. Sometimes symptoms are linked to certain cancer types. But signs can also be more general, including weight loss, tiredness or unexplained pain.
You dont need to try and remember all the signs and symptoms of cancer, but we have listed some key ones to give you an idea of the kind of things to be aware of. These symptoms are more often a sign of something far less serious – but if it is cancer, spotting it early can make a real difference.
Remember, anyone can develop cancer, but its more common as we get older. Most cases are in people aged 50 or over. Whatever your age, its always best to listen to your body and talk to your doctor if something doesnt feel quite right. Whether its a change thats new, unusual, or something that wont go away get it checked out.
Some possible signs of cancer like a lump – are better known than others. But just because some symptoms are more well known, doesnt mean theyre more important, or more likely to be cancer. If you spot anything that isnt normal for you – dont ignore it. Whether its on this list or not, get it checked out.
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.
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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
You’re Losing Weight Without Trying
Weight loss is a sign of stomach cancer partly because of the loss of appetite that often occurs, but it can also independently be a warning sign of disease, says Oceanand it’s usually one of the first signs that something’s off especially in a disease like stomach cancer that may not have other noticeable symptoms.
Significant weight loss takes hard work, so if youre shedding pounds without even trying, dont ignore it.
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What To Do If You Have Stomach Cancer Or Ulcer Symptoms
- If you have burning pain in your upper stomach that is relieved by eating or taking antacids, call a health-care professional for an appointment. Don’t assume you have an ulcer. Certain other conditions can cause similar symptoms.
- If you vomit blood or have other signs of gastrointestinal bleeding, go to an emergency department right away. Peptic ulcers can cause massive bleeding, which requires blood transfusion or surgery.
- Severe abdominal pain suggests perforation or tearing of an ulcer. This is an emergency that may require surgery to fix a hole in your stomach.
- Vomiting and abdominal pain also can be a sign of an obstruction, another complication of peptic ulcers. This also may require emergency surgery.
Changes In Your Poo Or Pee
Let your doctor know if youve noticed a change in your bowel habits, have problems peeing, or if theres blood in your pee or poo. A change in bowel habits can include constipation, looser poo or pooing more often. Problems peeing might be needing to go more often or urgently, experiencing pain when peeing, or not being able to go when you need to.
These symptoms can all be caused by conditions other than cancer, but its best to get them checked out.
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Having Another Type Of Cancer
For men, the risk of getting stomach cancer is increased after having prostate cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer or testicular cancer. For women, the risk of developing stomach cancer increases after having ovarian cancer, breast cancer or cervical cancer.
What Are Risk Factors For Stomach Cancer
There are some other factors besides H. pylori that can increase your risk of developing stomach cancer too, Dr. El-Hayek says, such as:
- Age .
- Being overweight or obese.
- Previous stomach surgery for ulcers.
- Having type A blood.
- A diet high in smoked foods, salted fish and cure meats.
- A family history.
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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:
Total Gastrectomy Or Oesophagogastrectomy
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.
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How Is Stomach Cancer Diagnosed
An upper endoscopy is the most important investigative tool in the diagnosis of stomach cancer. An EGD should be done promptly in patients with indigestion or heartburn that persists for more than a few weeks or which does not respond to treatment, especially in those over the age of 40-45 years.
At endoscopy, the inner lining of the stomach can be carefully inspected and biopsies of any suspicious or abnormal areas can be taken.
Sometimes it is not possible to tell whether a gastric ulcer is benign or malignant from the appearances alone, and multiple biopsies are usually needed. All patients with a gastric ulcer that is thought to be benign should undergo a repeat examination four to six weeks after treatment to ensure that the ulcer has healed properly.
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.
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Common Early Signs Of Stomach Cancer
More than 7 in 100,000 people are diagnosed with each year, while 3 in 100,000 die from the disease. About 0.8% of all men and women will be diagnosed with stomach cancer at some point in their life. As of 2017, 116,525 in the United States were living with stomach cancer.
In 2020, the National Cancer Institute estimates 27,600 new cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed, which is roughly 1.5% of all new cancer cases. The NCI also projects 11,010 deaths from stomach cancer in 2020, which is 1.8% of all cancer deaths.
Because stomach cancer affects men and women differently, and can be difficult to diagnose, it is crucial to understand its unique traits and the illnesses it can mimic. This article covers the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer, the different disease stages, primary causes, warning signs and how to manage it.
How Can You Detect Stomach Cancer Early
Be sure to contact your medical provider if you feel like something is not right. There are screening tests for stomach cancer when people are at risk for or are experiencing signs and symptoms. Diagnostic evaluations for gastric cancer include:
- Complete medical history and physical exam
- Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy to view the esophagus, stomach and small intestine after sedation. A small, flexible tube is inserted into the mouth with a tiny camera on the end that allows the doctor to see inside your stomach.
- Biopsy of stomach tissue to be evaluated under a microscope
- CT scan to visualize organs during X-ray
- Endoscopic ultrasound to diagnose and treat stomach cancer at the same time by visualizing organs and nearby blood vessels
- Positron emission tomography scan to illuminate cancer cells. A radioactive sugar tracer is used because cancer cells use more sugar than healthy cells and the tracer illuminates the cancer cells.
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Treatment For Metastatic Cancer
There are treatments for most types of metastatic cancer. Often, the goal of treating metastatic cancer is to control it by stopping or slowing its growth. Some people can live for years with metastatic cancer that is well controlled. Other treatments may improve the quality of life by relieving symptoms. This type of care is called palliative care. It can be given at any point during treatment for cancer.
The treatment that you may have depends on your type of primary cancer, where it has spread, treatments youve had in the past, and your general health. To learn about treatment options, including clinical trials, find your type of cancer among the PDQ® Cancer Information Summaries for Adult Treatment and Pediatric Treatment.
Stages Of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer is staged based on the extent of spread of cancer within the stomach and other parts of the body:
- Stage 0: Abnormal cancer cells are found in the mucosa of the stomach wall.
- Stage I:Tumor is found in situ , and the cancer cells may have spread to one or two lymph nodes.
- Stage II: Cancer spreads to deeper layers of the stomach and nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage III: Cancer spreads to all layers of the stomach, more lymph nodes, and nearby organs such as the spleen, pancreas, adrenal gland, abdomen wall, small intestine, colon, abdomen wall, diaphragm, or kidney.
- Stage IV: Cancer metastasizes to other parts of the body such as the lungs, bones, liver, lining of the abdomen, and distant lymph nodes. Cure is rarely possible at this stage.
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Prognosis And Survival Rates Of Stomach Cancer
When someone is diagnosed with stomach cancer, their doctor will give them a prognosis. A prognosis is the doctors opinion of how likely it is that the cancer will spread and the chances of getting better. A prognosis depends on the type and stage of cancer, as well as the persons age and general health.
Generally, the earlier stomach cancer is diagnosed the better the chances of successful treatment. If the cancer is found after it has spread from the stomach, the prognosis is not usually as good.
If you have stomach cancer, your doctor will talk to you about your individual situation when working out your prognosis. Every persons experience is different, and there is support available to you.
What Are The Symptoms Of Stomach Cancer In A Woman
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is a cancer that develops from the lining of the stomach. Stomach cancer tends to develop slowly over many years. Early stages rarely cause symptoms, so they are often undetected. Symptoms of stomach cancer in women are the same as those in men.
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Where Cancer Spreads
Cancer can spread to almost any part of the body, although different types of cancer are more likely to spread to certain areas than others. The most common sites where cancer spreads are bone, liver, and lung. The following list shows the most common sites of metastasis, not including the lymph nodes, for some common cancers:
|Bone, liver, lung, peritoneum, vagina|
What To Look Out For
Stomach cancer rarely causes symptoms in its early stages. While it is difficult to detect early, there are still some signs you should look out for. Symptoms of stomach cancer include:
- Abdominal pain
- Low red blood cell count
- Vague discomfort in the abdomen
- Weight loss without trying
It is possible that many of these symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, such as a stomach ulcer or virus. If symptoms persist or get worse, call your health care professional for a visit.
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