Stomach cancer

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Overview

Stomach cancer is located, as the name suggest, in the stomach, muscular sack located in the middle upper abdomen, just below the ribs.

In the stomach reach and remain the food that a person eats, then it is broken down and digested. Another term for stomach cancer is gastric cancer. These two terms are often pertain to stomach cancer, which starts from the mucus-producing cells of the inner lining of the stomach.


Contents

1. Overview
2. Stomach
3. Causes
4. Symptoms
5. Diagnosis
6. Stages of stomach cancer
7. Treatment


Stomach

The stomach is a hollow organ located in the upper abdomen below the ribs, being a part of the digestive system. Food enters the oral cavity, esophagus and stomach, where they become liquid, and the muscles of the stomach wall push fluids into the small intestine.

Stomach wall has five layers:

- inner layer or lining: juices produced by glands inner layer help digest food. Most stomach cancers begin in this layer.
- sub-lining: is a support tissue for the inner layer
- muscle layer: this layer muscles contract to chew and crush food
- subserous: this is a support tissue for the outer layer
- outer layer (serous) is the layer that covers the stomach. This keeps the stomach in position.


Causes

The exact cause of stomach cancer is unknown, but there are certain factors that may increase the risk of disease, including:

- gender – men have a higher risk than double to develop stomach cancer than women
- race – African-American or Asian race may increase the risk of stomach cancer
- genetics – genetic abnormalities and some inherited syndromes can increase the risk
- geographical area – stomach cancer is more common in Japan, Russia and parts of Central America and South America
- blood type – people who have blood type A have an increased risk
- old age – stomach disease mostly occurs around age 70-74, in men and women
- family history – can double or triple the risk of stomach cancer
- present lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and a diet low in fruits and vegetables, foods high in salt, smoked or preserved with nitrites, may increase the risk of stomach cancer.
- certain health conditions, including chronic gastritis, anemia, gastric polyps, intestinal metaplasia and previous surgery


Symptoms

Stomach cancer in early stages are often no symptoms. As cancer develops may occur:

- discomfort or pain in the stomach
- difficulty swallowing
- nausea and vomiting
- weight loss
- feeling of fullness or bloating after small meals
- vomiting blood or bloody stool.

Most often, these symptoms are not caused by cancer. Other health problems such as ulcers or infection can cause similar symptoms. Any person who suffers from these drawbacks should report to his doctor so that problems to be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.


Diagnosis

The doctor can often detect advanced stomach cancer by performing a physical examination. The specialist can detect lymph nodes, enlarged liver, large amounts of fluid in the abdomen (ascites) or abdominal nodules, which can be felt during a rectal exam.

However, if you have vague symptoms such as indigestion, weight loss, nausea, loss of appetite, may be recommended screening tests. These investigations may include:

- investigation of upper gastrointestinal
- gastroscopy and biopsy.


Stages of stomach cancer

- Stage 0: The tumor is present only in the lining of the stomach. This stage is called carcinoma
- Stage I: tumor has invaded only the sub-lining. Cancer cells can be detected up to 6 lymph nodes. Or the tumor has invaded the muscle layer or subserous. Cancer cells have not spread to lymph nodes or other organs.
- Stage II: tumor has invaded only the sub-lining. Cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes at 7-15. Or the tumor has invaded the muscle layer or subserous. Cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes at 1-6. Or tumor penetrated the outer layer of the stomach. Cancer cells have not spread to lymph nodes or other organs.
- Stage III: tumor has invaded the muscle layer or subserous. Cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes from 7 to 15. Or tumor penetrated the outer layer. Cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes from 1 to 15, or tumor invasion of neighboring organs such as colon, liver or spleen. Cancer cells have not spread to lymph nodes or distant organs.
- Stage IV cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes greater than 15. Or the tumor has invaded nearby organs and at least one lymph node, or cancer cells have spread to distant organs.


Treatment

Choice of treatment depends mainly on size and location of tumor, stage of disease and general health. Treatment for stomach cancer may involve surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Most probably your doctor will recommend you several types of treatment from which you can choose.

Clinical trials are an important option for people in all stages of stomach cancer. Medical team can help you establish your treatment plan. Your doctor may recommend a visit to a specialist gastroenterologist, surgeon, radiologist or oncologist or oncology nurse and a dietitian.

Health care team will describe treatment options, expected outcomes and possible effects. Because cancer treatments often affect healthy cells and tissues, side effects are common.

Before starting treatment, ask experts about the possible side effects, how to prevent and reduce these effects and how treatment may affect your normal activities. Patient and medical team will work together to build a treatment plan that will meet patient needs.

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