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Stomach Cancer : Types, Symptoms, Causes,Treatment

(Last Updated On: February 8, 2018)

What is Stomach Cancer ?

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is cancer that starts in the stomach, it will develop in any part of the stomach and can spread from the stomach to different organs.

Types of Stomach Cancer


It develop within the cells of the innermost lining of the stomach. the majority of stomach cancers are classified as adenocarcinomas.

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Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system tissue which will begin anywhere there are lymph tissues, together with the stomach. Lymphomas within the stomach are rather rare and only account for about 4 % of all stomach cancers.

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors or GISTs – are a rare type of stomach cancer that starts in a special cell found within the lining of the stomach known as interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs). underneath a microscope, GIST cells look just like muscle or nerve cells. These tumors could develop throughout the digestive tract, however, about 60 to 70 % occur within the stomach.

Carcinoid tumors

Carcinoid tumors usually begin with the hormone-producing cells of the stomach. These tumors sometimes do not spread to different organs and account for only about 3 % of stomach cancer incidence.

Stomach Cancer Symptoms

Unfortunately, early-stage stomach cancer rarely causes symptoms. this is one of the reasons stomach cancer is so hard to diagnose early.

The early warning signs of stomach cancer are:


Feeling bloated after you eat a meal


Slight nausea

Loss of appetite

Just having indigestion or heartburn after a meal doesn’t mean you have got cancer. however, if you are feeling these symptoms a lot, discuss with your doctor.

He will see if you have other risk factors and test you to look for any problems.

As stomach tumors grow, you will have a lot of serious symptoms, such as:

Stomach pain

Blood in your stool


Weight loss for no reason

Trouble swallowing

Yellowish eyes or skin

Swelling in your stomach

Constipation or diarrhea

Weakness or feeling tired


Stomach Cancer Causes

Doctor’s Doesn’t know exactly what makes cancer cells begin growing in the stomach. however, they do know a couple of things that may raise your risk for the stomach cancer.

one of them is infection with a common bacteria, H. pylori, that causes ulcers.

Inflammation in your gut referred to as gastritis, a precise type of long-lasting anemia referred to as pernicious anemia, and growths in your stomach referred to as polyps can also make you more probably to get Stomach cancer.

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Other things that appear to play a role in raising the danger include:


  Being overweight or obese

  A diet high in smoked, pickled, or salty foods

  Stomach surgery for an ulcer

Type-A blood

  Epstein-Barr virus infection

  Certain genes

  Working in coal, metal, timber, or rubber industries

  Exposure to asbestos

Diagnosis of Stomach Cancer

Your doctor will offer you a physical exam. He’ll also ask about your medical history to see if you have got any risk factors for stomach cancer or any members of the family who’ve had it. Then, he may give you some tests, including:

Blood tests to look for signs of cancer in your body.

Upper endoscopy – Your doctor can place a skinny, flexible tube with a little camera down your throat to look into your stomach.

Upper GI series test – You’ll drink a chalky liquid with a substance referred to as barium. The fluid coats your stomach and makes it show up more clearly on X-rays.

CT scan – this is a powerful X-ray that produces detailed footage of the inside of your body.

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Biopsy – Your doctor takes a little piece of tissue from your stomach to look at under a microscope for signs of cancer cells. He might do this throughout an endoscopy.

Determining the Stage of Stomach Cancer

The stage of cancer helps your doctor to see how big your cancer is and how far it is spread with this informatiom your doctor decide which treatment is best for you.

Tests and procedures used to verify the stage of cancer are :

Imaging tests : Tests could include CT and positron emission tomography (PET).

Exploratory surgery : Your doctor could recommend surgery to look for signs that your cancer has spread on the far side your esophagus or stomach, within your chest or abdomen.

exploratory surgery is sometimes done laparoscopically. this means the surgeon makes many little incisions in your abdomen and inserts a special camera that transmits pictures to a monitor in the operating room.

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Other staging tests are also used, depending on your situation.

Stomach Cancer Stages

Stage I – At this stage, the tumor is restricted to the top layer of tissue that lines the within of the esophagus or stomach. Cancer cells also may have spread to a restricted number of nearby lymph nodes.

Stage II – At this stage, Cancer is spread and grow into a deeper muscle layer of the esophagus or stomach wall. Cancer may also have spread to more of the lymph nodes.

Stage III – At this stage, cancer is fully grown and spread to all layers and nearby structures. Or it should be a smaller cancer that has spread more extensively to the lymph nodes.

Stage IV – This stage indicates that cancer has spread to distant areas of the body.

Stomach Cancer Treatment

Many treatments will fight stomach cancer. The one you and your doctor select will depend upon how long you’ve had the disease or how much it’s spread in your body, known as the stage of your cancer.


Gastroesophageal junction cancer that isn’t spread, needs surgery to remove the part of the esophagus or stomach where the cancerous tumor is located.

The goal of surgery is to remove all of the cancer and a margin of healthy tissue, when possible. nearby lymph nodes are usually removed as well.

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The Aim of surgery for cancer in the body of the stomach is also to remove all of the stomach cancer and a margin of healthy tissue, once possible. options include:

Removing early-stage tumors from the stomach lining – very small cancers restricted to the inside lining of the stomach could also be removed using endoscopy during a procedure referred to as endoscopic mucosal resection.

The endoscope could be a lighted tube with a camera that is passed down your throat to your stomach.

The doctor uses special tools to remove cancer and a margin of healthy tissue from the stomach lining.

Removing a portion of the stomach (subtotal gastrectomy) – throughout subtotal gastrectomy, the doctor removes only the portion of the stomach affected by cancer.

Removing the complete stomach (total gastrectomy) – Total gastrectomy involves removing the complete stomach and a few surrounding tissue.

The esophagus is then connected directly to the little intestine to permit food to move through your digestive system.

Removing lymph nodes to look for cancer – The doctor examines and removes lymph nodes in your abdomen to look for cancer cells.

Surgery to relieve signs and symptoms –  Removing part of the stomach could relieve signs and symptoms of a growing tumor in individuals with advanced stomach cancer.

In this case, surgery cannot cure advanced stomach cancer, however, it will make you more comfortable.

Surgery carries a risk of bleeding and infection – If all or part of your stomach is removed, you’ll experience digestive issues.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams of energy, like X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells. The energy beams come from a machine that moves around you as you lie on a table.

In gastroesophageal junction cancer, and in cancer of the stomach body, radiation therapy are used before surgery (neoadjuvant radiation) to shrink a tumor by that it becomes more easy to removed.

Radiation therapy can also be used after surgery (adjuvant radiation) to kill any cancer cells that may stay in the area around your esophagus or stomach.

In gastroesophageal junction cancer, radiation and chemotherapy are generally administered at the same time (chemoradiotherapy), most frequently before surgery.

Radiation therapy to your stomach will cause diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, and vomiting. radiation therapy to your esophagus will cause pain on swallowing and difficulty swallowing.

To avoid this side effect, you’ll be suggested to have a feeding tube placed in your stomach through alittle incision in your abdomen till your esophagus heals.

In cases of advanced cancer, radiation therapy could also be used to relieve side effects caused by a large tumor.


Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses medicines to kill cancer cells. chemotherapy medicine travels throughout your body, killing cancer cells that will have spread beyond the stomach.

Chemotherapy will be given before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) to help shrink a tumor in order that it can be more easily removed.

chemotherapy is also used after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy) to kill any cancer cells which may remain within the body. Chemotherapy is usually combined with radiation therapy. chemotherapy could also be used alone in individuals with advanced stomach cancer to help relieve signs and symptoms.

Chemotherapy side effects depend on medicine that are used.

Targeted drugs

Targeted therapy uses medicine that attacks specific abnormalities within cancer cells or that direct your immune system to kill cancer cells (immunotherapy).

Targeted medication used to treat stomach cancer include:

Trastuzumab (Herceptin) for stomach cancer cells that produce an excessive amount of HER2

Ramucirumab (Cyramza) for advanced stomach cancer that hasn’t responded to different treatments

Imatinib (Gleevec) for a rare form of stomach cancer referred to as gastrointestinal stromal tumor

Sunitinib (Sutent) for gastrointestinal stromal tumors

Regorafenib (Stivarga) for gastrointestinal stromal tumors

Several targeted medication is being studied for the treatment of gastroesophageal junction cancer, however only 2 of those medication — ramucirumab and trastuzumab — are approved for this use.

Targeted drugs are usually utilized in combination with standard chemotherapy medicine. Tests of your cancer cells can tell your doctor whether these treatments are possible to work for you.

Supportive (palliative) care

Palliative care is a specialized treatment that focuses on providing relief from pain and different symptoms of a serious illness.

Palliative care specialists work with you, your family and your other doctors to provide an extra layer of support that enhances your ongoing care.

Palliative care is used while undergoing aggressive treatments, like surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

When palliative care is used along with all of the other appropriate treatments, individuals with cancer could feel better and live longer.

Palliative care is given by a team of doctors, nurses and other specially trained professionals. Palliative care teams aim to boost the standard of life for people with cancer and their families.

This form of care is offered alongside curative or other treatments you’ll be receiving.


Reference :

American cancer Society




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