Stomach cancer describes abnormal cell growth beginning in the stomach, which is a sac of muscle in the upper middle portion of the abdomen, right under the ribs. Stomach cancer is sometimes called gastric cancer, and it can occur within any part of the stomach.
Around the world, stomach cancer is most likely to occur in the stomach body, which is the main part of the stomach. In the United States, on the other hand, stomach cancer is usually found in an area called the gastroesophageal junction, which is the area where the esophagus joins the stomach.
What causes stomach cancer?
While the exact cause of stomach cancer is unknown, certain risk factors can make a person more likely to develop stomach cancer. These risk factors include obesity, consuming a high amount of salty or smoked foods, eating a diet that lacks fruits and vegetables, being infected with H. pylori bacteria, chronic stomach inflammation, smoking, and stomach polyps. You are also more likely to develop stomach cancer if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or you have a family history of stomach cancer. You can reduce your risk of stomach cancer by maintaining a healthy weight, making changes to your diet, and giving up cigarettes if you are a smoker.
What is the prognosis for stomach cancer?
The five-year survival rate for localized stomach cancer is about 69%, meaning that when compared to those who do not have stomach cancer, those who do are 69% as likely to survive for five years after diagnosis. Survival rates are lower if stomach cancer spreads to other areas of the body.
How is stomach cancer treated?
Treatment for stomach cancer depends upon the stage and location of the cancer, as well as a patient’s unique needs and preferences. Treatment options include performing a procedure to remove small cancers from the lining of the stomach, as well as surgery to remove either part of or all of the stomach. Among the other treatment options for stomach cancer are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted drug therapy. These options are typically used for more advanced stage stomach cancer. A medical team may also provide palliative care, which focuses on relieving pain and uncomfortable symptoms associated with cancer.
- “I started to have a lot of trouble swallowing food, and I felt really full and bloated after a meal.”
- “I started to feel so full after eating just a small amount of food that I lost weight without even trying.”
- “I was experiencing heartburn and stomach pain all the time, and I had some bouts of nausea and vomiting.”