Stomach cancer or gastric cancer is cancer which develops within the stomach’s lining. According to National Cancer Institute, there are about 28.000 new cases of this cancer in 2017. Stomach cancer is actually rare compared to other types of cancer. However, its deadliest characteristic is that it doesn’t show any early symptoms. This makes it harder to treat.
How is stomach cancer diagnosed? Note that since early symptoms rarely occur, it is often left undiagnosed until it has reached advanced stage. Due to this, a doctor will likely to perform a physical examination. This is done in order to find any abnormalities in the patient’s body. A blood test will also be done.
In case the doctor believes that the patient shows symptoms of stomach cancer, more diagnostic tests will follow. These tests may include imaging tests (for instance X-rays or CT scans), a biopsy and an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.
While there is no early symptom of stomach cancer, cancer does show symptoms when it reaches an advanced stage. During this period, there are symptoms that it shows, including
- Loss of appetite
- Early satiety
- Unusual fatigue
- Vomit and nausea
- Heartburn which occurs frequently
- Blood in stool
Below are some types of stomach cancer.
Among other types of stomach cancer, adenocarcinoma is the most common one. It accounts for the majority of stomach cancer cases (90% to 95%). This is why when the term stomach cancer is used it is usually referring to adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma grows from the mucosa (stomach’s innermost lining).
4% of stomach cancer cases are lymphomas. Lymphoma is the cancer of immune system. Sometimes, it can be found inside the stomach’s wall.
3% of stomach cancer cases is a carcinoid tumor. Also one of the types of stomach cancer, carcinoid tumor starts in the stomach’s hormone-making cells. Most of these tumors don’t spread to other organs.
Gastrointestinal stromal tumor or GIST
GISTs are rare tumors. It develops in very early forms of cells inside stomach’s wall. The rumors can be cancerous or benign. While GIST can be found anywhere inside the digestive tract, in most cases GIST is found in the stomach.
Are there other types of stomach cancer? Of course.Leiomyosarcoma, small cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma. These types of cancer are rare, fortunately.
Treatment for one type of stomach cancer to other types of stomach cancer may be different. Factors such as overall health and age may affect which treatment for given condition. In general, this cancer is treated with immunotherapy including vaccination and medication, surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Those treatments are aimed at not only treating cancer cells but also prevent these cancer cells from spreading. If not treated, the cancer cells are able to spread to the liver, lungs, lymph nodes and bones.
Early detection of stomach cancer will improve the chance of survival. While it is difficult, detecting stomach cancer early is not impossible. As you can see above, there are several types of this cancer and treatment can differ from one patient to another. We hope this helps you get a better understanding of stomach cancer.