Gastric cancer can develop in any part of the stomach, and can extend to surrounding organs, the bloodstream and lymph.
There are five layers in the wall of the stomach. The inner layer is called the mucosa, and is the sight of about 95% of all tumors of the stomach. Malignant tumors of the stomach mucosa are called adenocarcinomas.
Other less common malignant tumors of the stomach are lymphomas, which are the origin of the lymphatic tissue from the stomach wall or gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) cells, which are the origin of the central layer of the stomach. Less frequently, various hormones cause stomach tumors.
It is believed that it takes several years for the development of gastric cancer, for that reason, it is usually at an advanced stage at the time of detection.
The exact reason for developing stomach cancer remains unknown.
Risk factors for gastric cancer are:
– Age over 50 years
– Males are twice as likely to get cancer
– Helicobacter pylori infection
– Smoked, salty and spicy foods, “fast” food
– Smoking and alcohol consumption
– Previous surgery of the stomach
– Pernicious anemia
– Menetrier’s disease
– Blood Type A
– Hereditary adenomatous polyposis
– Gastric polyps
Quite often gastric cancer grows insidiously, without significant interference. Discomfort caused by stomach cancer may include:
– Indigestion, heartburn
– Abdominal pain, a feeling of tightness in the abdomen
– Nausea and vomiting
– Diarrhea and constipation
– Loss of appetite
– A feeling of a bloated stomach after a small meal
– Blood vomiting
– Black stool
– Excessive unintentional weight loss
– Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
Similar symptoms may also occur in some less serious diseases. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your doctor.
Surgery is usually the best option is treating cancer. The surgery allows you to remove the tumor, part of the stomach or the entire stomach. Types of surgery:
– Endoscopic resection of the tumor (in the earliest stages of the disease)
– Subtotal gastric resection (removing a part of the stomach with the tumor, after which the stomach is connected to the small intestine)
– Total gastrectomy (removal of the entire stomach and surrounding lymph nodes, after which the esophagus connects to the small intestine)