What is stomach cancer?
Stomach cancer (also called gastric cancer) is a disease in which normal cells in the stomach tissues become cancerous and grow out of control. Stomach cancer (gastric cancer) is any malignant tumor that arises in the lining of the stomach. The disease is usually asymptomatic until the later stages, and usually, by the time stomach cancer is diagnosed, the prognosis
is poor. Most people who are diagnosed with stomach cancer are over the age of 60. The disease rarely occurs before age 50. The disease is more common in men than women.
The stomach is a J-shaped organ that lies in the abdomen, on the left side. The esophagus (or the food pipe) carries the food from the mouth to the stomach. The stomach produces many digestive juices and acids that mix with the food and aid in the process of digestion. The stomach is divided into five sections. The first three are together referred to as the proximal stomach, and produce acids and digestive juices, such as pepsin. The fourth section of the stomach is where the food is mixed with the gastric juices. The fifth section of the stomach acts as a valve and controls the emptying of the stomach contents into the small intestine. The fourth and the fifth sections together are referred to as the distal stomach. Cancer can develop in any of the five sections of the stomach. The symptoms and the outcomes of the disease may vary depending on the location of the cancer.
The disease is three times more common in men than in women. It is generally found in people who are 40 years or older. The average age at first diagnosis is 60 years. Stomach cancer can develop in any part of the stomach and then may spread throughout the stomach and to other organs. Stomach cancers are classified according to the type of tissue where they originate. The most common type of stomach cancer is adenocarcinoma, which starts in the glandular tissue of the stomach, and accounts for 95% of all stomach cancers. Other forms of stomach cancer include lymphomas, which involve the lymphatic system, and sarcomas, which involve the connective tissue (such as muscle, fat or blood vessels).
Stomach cancer also may extend through the stomach wall and spread to nearby lymph nodes and to organs such as the liver, pancreas, and colon. Stomach cancer also may spread to distant organs, such as the lungs, the lymph nodes above the collar bone, and the ovaries. When cancer spreads to another part of the body, the new tumor has the same kind of abnormal cells and the same name as the primary tumor. For example, if stomach cancer spreads to the liver, the cancer cells in the liver are stomach cancer cells and the disease is metastatic stomach cancer, not liver cancer.
More information on stomach cancer
What is stomach cancer? - Stomach cancer (gastric cancer) is a disease in which normal cells in the stomach tissues become cancerous and grow out of control.
What causes stomach cancer? - Stomach cancer arises from changes in the internal lining of the stomach. Stomach cancer is more common in smokers and in those with heavy alcohol intake.
What're the risk factors for stomach cancer? - Risk factors for stomach cancer include eating foods high in starch and low in fiber, smoking, drinking alcohol, and vitamin A deficiency.
What're the symptoms of stomach cancer? - Symptoms of stomach cancer include weight loss, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal bleeding, nausea and vomiting.
How is stomach cancer diagnosed? - A complete medical history will be taken to check for any risk factors. A thorough physical examination will be conducted to assess all the symptoms.
What're the stages of stomach cancer? - Staging of stomach cancer is based on how deep the growth has penetrated the stomach lining. Staging may not be complete until after surgery.
What's the treatment for stomach cancer? - Standard treatment available for stomach cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
How to prevent stomach cancer? - By avoiding many of the risk factors associated with the disease, it is possible to prevent many stomach cancers.