What is stomach cancer?
Stomach cancer occurs when cells in one part of the stomach grow and divide abnormally. Tumors can start anywhere in the stomach, but most start in the glandular tissue on the inside of the stomach. This type of cancer is gastric adenocarcinoma (stomach cancer).
Rare types of gastric cancer include small cell carcinoma, lymphoma, neuroendocrine tumor, and gastrointestinal stromal tumor.
Stomach cancer is a relatively common cancer in Australia, but the number of people being diagnosed is declining. It rarely occurs in people under the age of 60 and is more common in men than women.
In Australia, 2392 new cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed in 2021.
The five-year survival rate for gastric cancer is 31%.
Symptoms of stomach cancer
pain and burning sensation in the abdomen
heartburn or upset stomach (dyspepsia)
Feeling full even after eating a small amount of food
nausea and/or vomiting
loss of appetite and/or weight loss
unexplained fatigue or weakness
Causes of stomach cancer
Some factors that increase the risk of stomach cancer include:
More than 60 years old
Helicobacter pylori infection
a diet high in smoked, pickled, and salted foods and low in fresh fruits and vegetables
overweight or obese
pernicious anemia (low red blood cells)
chronic gastritis (stomach inflammation)
family history of gastric cancer
Partial gastrectomy for peptic ulcer (after 20 years)
Inherited genetic changes that cause bowel disease, familial adenomatous polyposis, or hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer.
Diagnosis of stomach cancer
If your doctor thinks you have stomach cancer, he will order additional tests. The main examination is an endoscopy (also a gastroscopy). Doctors use a thin, flexible tube with a camera (scope) that goes through the mouth, throat, and esophagus into the stomach to view the digestive system.
If a suspicious area is found, a small amount of tissue (biopsy) from the lining of the stomach can be examined under a microscope. At the end of the scope, endoscopic ultrasound with an ultrasound transducer is used less often.
After being diagnosed with stomach cancer
After being diagnosed with stomach cancer, you may feel shock, frustration, anxiety, and confusion. These are normal reactions. Diagnosing stomach and esophageal cancer varies from person to person. This will be a difficult time for most people, but some may be able to resume normal daily activities.
You may find it helpful to talk to your doctor, family, or friends about your treatment. Ask questions and get as much information as possible. It depends on how much you want to be involved in treatment decisions.