Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer is described by an increment of cancerous cells in the stomach. Stomach cancer is comparatively rare than other types of cancer but is said to be the most dangerous cancer in comparison to all others. Stomach cancer develops slowly over numerous years and before cancer develops, changes can occur in the inner stomach lining called as mucosa. The biggest danger of stomach cancer is the difficulty of diagnosing it as you cannot quickly judge the early symptoms of stomach cancer.
There are many symptoms of stomach cancer but are not easily recognized at an early stage. Some of the early signs of stomach cancer are listed below:
- Feeling overstuffed after meals
- Frequent burping
- Facing difficulty in swallowing
- Pain in breastbone
- Vomiting with blood in it
- Persistent heartburn
- Constant nausea
- Stomach pain
- Unplanned weight loss
If you find any of the above stomach cancer signs and symptoms, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
Cancer begins when DNA configuration changes and due to this change, disruption occurs in the instructions that direct the cell growth. Cells that should die will not do that and newly created cells will produce themselves rapidly in an uncontrolled way. The causes of stomach cancer are not exactly known by medical experts, but there are many factors which might increase the risk of developing cancerous cells. These risks comprise several conditions or diseases such as
- Tumours in another part of the body
- A group of blood cancer called as lymphoma
- Stomach infection that can lead to ulcers named as H.pylori bacterial infections
- Abnormal growth of tissues known as stomach polyps
There is a strong connection amid a diet high in smoked & salted foods and stomach cancer in the main part of the stomach. There are certain lifestyle factors which can also trigger the chances of stomach cancer. They are:
- Consumption of too much meat
- Consumption of salty or processed foods
- Lack of exercise
- Storing and cooking food in an improper manner
There are many risk factors which lead to stomach cancer. They are as below:
- There are many medical conditions which can lead to stomach cancer. They include GERD, i.e. gastroesophageal reflux disease, Barrett's oesophagus, stomach polyps and peptic stomach ulcers.
- Regular smoking can lead to stomach cancer as smokers have twice the risk of developing cancer in comparison with other non-smokers.
- Family history is also one risk factor causing stomach cancer. In case your close relative has stomach cancer, it increases the chances for you to have it too.
- Consumption of foods having aflatoxin fungus can lead to stomach cancer. It can be found in crude vegetable oils, tree nuts, figs, groundnuts, cocoa beans and many other dried foods and spices.
- Some surgical procedures can also lead to stomach cancer. If you have undergone any kind of stomach surgery or of any other body part that affects the stomach, then it can also increase the risk of stomach cancer.
There are various tests and procedures to diagnose stomach cancer as well as gastroesophageal junction cancer. The doctor will ask about the medical and family history along with lifestyle changes of the patient. After that, they will undertake a physical examination by checking the stomach lumpiness as well as tenderness. If doctors find out any complication of stomach cancer, then the patient will be referred to the specialist of stomach cancer. There are many diagnostic measures done by doctors. They are as below:
- Detection of stomach cancer is done by a thin tube with a tiny camera attached to it. The doctor will pass this camera through your throat in your stomach and will observe the signs of stomach cancer. This process to detect stomach cancer is termed as a biopsy. If the suspicious areas are found doubtful, then a piece of tissue will be taken for testing.
- The second test includes an imaging test which is done to examine stomach cancer which comprises CT Scan, i.e. computerized tomography.
- Barium meal x-ray- It is also one of the methods to diagnose stomach cancer, and it is also known as a barium swallow study. In it, the patient has to swallow a liquid which contains barium. It is very helpful to identify the stomach through the X-Ray.
- Laparoscopy- To determine to what extent cancer has been spread all through the body, the doctor will check the abdomen internally. Laparoscopy is the process in which a thin tube with a camera is inserted. This tube is inserted all the way through the small incision in the stomach lower part.
Mainly there are four stages of stomach cancer they include:
- Stage one : at stage one, the tumour is restricted at the top layer of tissue inside the stomach. Also, cancer cells might spread to limited areas of lymph nodes.
- Stage two : at the second stage of stomach cancer it spreads much deeper. Cancer cells might also spread to many more lymph nodes.
- Stage three : at this crucial stage of stomach cancer it may spread all over through layers of the stomach.
- Stage four : this is the most dangerous stage of stomach cancer which shows that cancer has spread to all parts of the body.
The above stages of stomach cancer help doctor to decide what treatment to be done. It entirely depends upon the stages and your preferences to treat stomach cancer. Below we have listed ways to treat stomach cancer:
Surgery is done when cancer has not spread to many other parts of your stomach. The primary objective of surgery is to remove all cancer, and mainly lymph nodes are removed.
- Surgery is done to eradicate microscopic cancers which are restricted to the inner lining of the stomach and which can be removed easily through a process known as mucosal resection.
- The surgeon removes a portion known as subtotal gastrectomy, as it some part of stomach affected by cancer is removed.
- The surgeon removes cells from the entire abdomen known as a total gastrectomy. In this, the whole stomach comprising the cancerous tissues will be removed.
- Surgery is sometimes done to examine and remove lymph nodes in the abdomen to observe the cancer cells. And sometimes to remove a part of the stomach which can be helpful to relieve signs and symptoms of stomach cancer. Surgery cannot cure the advanced stomach cancer but can make it comfortable for you.
- Some risks of surgery of stomach cancer include bleeding as well as infection. If all part or some part of the stomach is removed, you can face digestive problems.
Chemotherapy is a treatment of the drug that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. This drug travels all the way through your body and kills all cells of cancers that have been spread beyond your stomach part. Chemotherapy can be given prior to surgery to assist in shrinking cancer in the body and can be removed easily. Chemotherapy is also applied after surgery to kill cancer cells that by chance remain inside the body. It can be united with radiation therapy. It is also very helpful in relieving the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer.
Radiation therapy is another way to treat stomach cancer. In it, the high powered beams of energy are used which are similar to X-Ray to kill stomach cancer cells in the body. These beams are given through the machine all over your body. Radiation therapy is also given after surgery to kill the raining cancer cells if any.
There are some side effects of the radiation therapy. This therapy can cause indigestion, diarrhoea and vomiting. It can also cause pain in swallowing. In advance stomach cancer cases radiation therapies are utilized to give relief to side effects which are due to a large tumour.
These are the terms given to the radiation therapies which are provided prior to and after surgery. Neoadjuvant radiotherapy is given before surgery to make a tumour smaller so that it can be removed easily. And Adjuvant radiation is given after surgery to kill off any remaining cancer cells in the body.
Similar to the above these are given to cancer patients before and after surgery. NeoAdvajunt is given before the surgery to shrink cancer so that it can be removed quickly and Adjuvant is given after surgery to kill off the remaining cancer cells.
There are many medications to treat stomach cancer some of them includes Gleevec (imatinib) and Sutent (sunitinib). These assail specific types of abnormalities in cancerous cells for people with stomach cancer.
There are the clinic trails which are recognized as the experimental therapies to try new drugs, or it can be to use existing treatments in a new way. Keep in mind that clinical trials do not guarantee to cure stomach cancer. Patients should at first discuss this option with the doctors and family members. They should also keep this in mind that the side effects of experimental therapies are also unknown which can be experienced by the patients.
Your treatment methods to treat stomach cancer will depend upon many factors. It entirely depends on the location and stage of stomach cancer, and the doctor will choose the treatment method after examining all the factors.
Stomach cancer is said to be the fourth most common cancer worldwide. There are no vaccines available to prevent yourself from stomach cancer. There is no guarantee that you can stop yourself from stomach cancer but you can do many things to prevent stomach cancer. Let us see how you can do this:
- Keep a continuous check: Keep a continuous check on Ulcers as H.pylori is a very common bacteria. It does not make you sick but will infect your inner stomach and cause an ulcer. So in case, you got stomach ulcers you should consult your doctor and keep a regular check on them.
- Have a healthy diet: You should consume a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, as it is the best way to lessen the chances of getting stomach cancer. Some of the fruits that you can eat to prevent yourself from stomach cancer are grapefruit, lemons, and oranges. As per the American Cancer Society, you should consume fish, poultry instead of having red or processed meats, pasta, whole grain bread and refined grains.
- Limit smoked and pickled food: Sometimes people smoked, salted or pickled the food to preserve it but it triggers cancer in the body. So cut on smoked and pickled food as a significant amount of salt and preservatives are harmful to your stomach lining.
- Changes in lifestyle: Some changes in lifestyle can prevent you from stomach cancer like quit smoking as it triggers the risk of stomach cancer. You should also exercise on a regular basis as it is the best way to prevent stomach cancer and all other types of cancers. In case you are overweight, you can make more likely to have stomach cancer so keep a check on your weight.
Cancer can hit any part of your body and is also called gastric cancer. You cannot change the fact that you have cancer, but you can change your lifestyle and way of thinking by making healthy choices in life. Don’t panic the time you came to know you have stomach cancer or any other type of cancer. There is a time to assess your situation and make some practical decisions before starting the treatments. Try to calm down and prepare yourself mentally and physically towards the successful journey.
Disclaimer : Docprime doesn’t endorse or take any guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of information provided under this article and these are the views strictly of the writer. Docprime shall not be held responsible for any aspect of healthcare services administered with the information provided on this article.