Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer, also known as Gastric cancer develops when abnormal cells divide, multiply rapidly and form a mass of tumor in the stomach lining. This cancer doesn’t cause early symptoms and takes years to develop, which is why it can go undetected before it starts to spread.

Causes of Stomach Cancer

The exact cause of stomach cancer is difficult to pinpoint, however, there are certain risk factors, which are:

  • Tobacco and alcohol consumption
  • Gender – It is seen that men are twice more likely to develop stomach cancer than women
  • Stomach Surgeries – previously done stomach surgeries can increase the risk of developing stomach cancer
  • H. Pylori Infection – Helicobacter Pylori is a bacteria that causes stomach inflammation and ulcers which is a primary cause of stomach cancer
  • Dietary habits – Consumption of smoked, salted, and pickled food makes it easy for H. Pylori to convert into compounds that can increase the risk of stomach cancer
  • Menetrier Disease – It refers to the overgrowth of mucus cells of the stomach which results in gastric folds that develop in the lining of the stomach. This can increase the risk of stomach cancer
  • Family history – Stomach cancer in first-degree relatives increases the risk of developing stomach cancer

Symptoms of Stomach Cancer

  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bloated feeling
  • Heartburn

Prevention of Stomach Cancer

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid smoking
  • Reduce the consumption of smoked and salty foods
  • Eat a nutritional diet

Diagnosis of Stomach Cancer

  • Endoscopy – In this, a thin tube containing a tiny camera is passed down your throat, into your stomach. The doctor then looks for the signs of cancer
  • Biopsy – If the doctor finds something suspicious during the endoscopy, he might go ahead and do a biopsy to take out a sample of tissue for further testing in the lab
  • Imaging tests – Tests like CT scans, X-Ray, Barium swallow tests might be done to look for cancer
  • Blood tests – Blood tests might help the doctor determine the functioning of other organs and see if they are affected by cancer

Treatment of Stomach Cancer

  • Surgery – The main aim of the surgery is to remove all of cancer and only some healthy tissue around it. Depending on the stage of cancer, the surgeon might remove the tumor or part of the stomach
  • Radiation Therapy – Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation like X-rays and protons for killing the cancer cells or halting their growth. It can also be done after the surgery to kill the remnant cells
  • Targeted Therapy – This treatment uses drugs that are designed specifically to target the tumor cells. This therapy causes less harm to the normal cells than chemotherapy and radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy – This treatment uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells. It does this either by killing the cancer cells or by preventing their further division. It can be done either intravenously or orally. The drugs enter the bloodstream and reach the cancer cells across the body
  • Immunotherapy – It uses body’s immune system to fight off cancer cells. Substances made in labs or by the body itself are used to boost and restore the body’s immune system and use it as a defence against the cancer cells