What is it?
Stomach cancer is relatively rare and, in recent years, has become less common. This type of cancer starts in the stomach lining. As the cancerous mass grows, it can break into and/or through the stomach wall and spread to other areas and organs of the body. If diagnosed in the early stages, the prognosis for recovery from stomach cancer is high. Because stomach cancer tends to cause no symptoms in its early stages, however, it usually is not detected until the cancer is in an advanced stage.
Causes, Symptoms & Risk Factors
While the causes of stomach cancer are unknown, doctors and scientists believe the decline in incidence might be attributed to improved diets and advances in safe food preservation. It’s important to note that normal stomach ulcers do not lead to stomach cancer.
Symptoms of stomach cancer include:
- An aching pain in the stomach
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of energy
- Bleeding or vomiting blood in advanced cases
The risks of stomach cancer increase with:
- Age (it tends to develop in middle age)
- Excessive use of tobacco or alcohol
- Poor diet that is heavy on smoked or pickled foods, or that is lacking fresh fruits and vegetables
- Family history of stomach cancer
Tests, Procedures and Treatments
A doctor will perform a physical examination, review symptoms with the patient and perform testing that may include:
Treatments for stomach cancer include:
- Radiation therapy
- Surgery to remove the cancerous growth
- In advanced stages, surgery to remove the affected part of the stomach