What is Stomach cancer?
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is a type of cancer that develops in the lining of the stomach. It is a relatively common cancer worldwide, with approximately one million new cases diagnosed each year. Stomach cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the world, and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The incidence of stomach cancer is higher in men than in women, and it is more common in people over the age of 50.
Stomach cancer develops gradually over time, usually starting in the cells that line the stomach. The exact causes of stomach cancer are not fully understood, but there are several factors that may increase the risk of developing the disease. These include a family history of stomach cancer, a history of stomach polyps, a diet high in smoked or salted foods, and chronic inflammation of the stomach lining.
There are several types of stomach cancer, but the most common type is called adenocarcinoma, which starts in the cells that produce mucus and other fluids. Other types of stomach cancer include lymphoma, which starts in the immune cells of the stomach, and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), which develop in the cells that support the stomach lining.
Symptoms of stomach cancer can vary depending on the stage of the disease. In the early stages, there may be no symptoms at all. As the cancer grows and spreads, however, symptoms may include:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling full after eating small amounts of food
- Nausea or vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing
These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Diagnosing stomach cancer usually involves a physical exam, blood tests, and imaging tests such as a CT scan or endoscopy. A biopsy may also be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for stomach cancer depends on the stage of the disease and may include surgery to remove the cancerous tissue, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be used. Palliative care may also be provided to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
Prevention of stomach cancer includes avoiding risk factors such as smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise. It is also important to seek treatment for chronic conditions such as gastritis or stomach ulcers, which can increase the risk of developing stomach cancer.
Overall, stomach cancer is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease, but with early diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis can be improved.