What is stomach cancer? What Causes Gastric Cancer?


Gastric cancer, also called gastric cancer, is cancer that begins on the inner wall of the stomach. The cancer usually develops gradually over the years. One of the most common treatment options includes surgery. However, other treatments may be needed before and after surgery.

What is stomach cancer?

The stomach is a J-shaped muscle sac that is part of the digestive system. It is in the upper abdomen, below the ribs. The stomach is a muscular sac just below the ribs and in the upper center of the abdomen. The stomach receives consumed food, holds it, and helps break it down and digest it.

The stomach wall is made up of five layers of tissue. The layers are – serosa, subserosa, muscle, submucosa, and mucosa (outermost to innermost). Gastric cancer begins in the mucous membrane and begins to spread toward the outermost layers.

Cancer cells can affect any part of the stomach. In most cases, cancer cells affect a major part of the stomach known as the body of the stomach. However, in some cases, gastric cancer can affect the area where the stomach meets the esophagus, known as the gastroesophageal junction.

What are the symptoms of stomach cancer?

Symptoms may vary from person to person. In the early stages, stomach cancer can cause the following symptoms:

  • Slight nausea
  • heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • A feeling of fullness after eating
  • Decreased appetite

When stomach cancer begins to spread, the following serious symptoms may occur:

  • Bloody stool
  • vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Swelling of the stomach
  • diarrhea
  • Weight loss without explanation
  • Yellowing of eyes and skin
  • Dysphagia

Indigestion and heartburn do not necessarily indicate stomach cancer. However, if you experience these symptoms frequently, consult your doctor.

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When should I go to the doctor?

Seek medical attention immediately if you have any of the above symptoms or signs. Your doctor may perform a series of tests to diagnose the problem and prescribe treatment options.

What Causes Gastric Cancer?

The exact cause of stomach cancer is unknown. However, doctors believe that stomach cancer begins when there is a change in the DNA of a cell. DNA contains information that tells cells what to do. These changes in DNA tell cells to grow rapidly. Abnormal cells continue to grow without dying, forming tumors that invade and destroy healthy cells.

Another factor that can cause stomach cancer is H. It is a bacterium that exists inside the stomach called Helicobacter pylori. This bacterium causes gastric ulcers and can lead to the development of cancer cells. Specific growth of the stomach called polyps, a type of long-lasting anemia called pernicious anemia, or inflammation of the intestines called gastritis can also cause gastric cancer.

What are the risk factors associated with gastric cancer?

Factors that play a role in increasing the risk of developing stomach cancer include:

  • Stomach surgery for ulcer
  • smoking
  • obesity
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • A diet high in salty, spicy, smoked foods
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Gastric polyp
  • Gastritis-Long-term gastric inflammation
  • Family history of gastric cancer
  • Epstein-Barr virus infection
  • Exposure to asbestos

How is gastric cancer diagnosed?

To diagnose gastric cancer, doctors may perform a series of tests and tests, such as:

  1. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy: In this test, a tube with a camera is passed through the throat to the stomach. Helps doctors look for signs of cancer cells in the stomach.
  2. biopsy: If a doctor finds a suspicious area in the stomach during an endoscopy, a biopsy may be done. It involves taking a sample of suspicious tissue for laboratory testing.
  1. Barium swallowing: Your doctor may give you a chalk-like drink that contains a substance called barium to swallow. It covers the stomach and makes it more visible on x-rays.
  2. CT scan: CT scans help doctors get detailed images of the stomach and gastrointestinal system.

What are the treatment options available for gastric cancer?

The procedures and tests used to treat stomach cancer include the following:

Surgery removes part of the cancerous tissue and the healthy tissue around it. The surgeon either removes the affected area of ​​the stomach and the healthy tissue around it (subtotal gastrectomy), or removes the entire stomach and some of the healthy tissue nearby (total gastrectomy).

Targeted drug therapies focus on cancer cells. This treatment is aimed at killing cancer cells.

This treatment uses radiation, such as high-energy x-rays, to kill or stop the growth of cancer cells.

This treatment uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given before surgery to shrink the tumor. In some cases, it may be used to kill cancer cells that remain after surgery.

Immunotherapy, also known as biological therapy, uses the patient’s immune system to fight stomach cancer. Substances made by the body or artificially prepared in the laboratory are used to restore or strengthen the body’s defenses against cancer.

This treatment option combines chemotherapy and radiation therapy to enhance both effects in the fight against cancer.

  • Endoscopic mucosal resection

An endoscope is used to remove precancerous growth or early gastric cancer from the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

What complications can occur if gastric cancer is left untreated?

If left untreated, the following complications may occur:

  • Small bowel obstruction
  • Ascites – fluid in the abdominal cavity
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Difficult to eat and drink
  • Gastric perforation
Can stomach cancer be prevented?

The following measures will help prevent stomach cancer.

Fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of fiber that help reduce the risk of developing cancer and should be included in the diet. Eat less salty, hardened, or pickled foods.

  • Maintain a healthy weight

Being obese or overweight can increase your risk of developing cancer. If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about exercise and diet that may help you lose weight.

Smoking doubles the risk of developing stomach cancer.


Gastric cancer is a type of cancer that can cause severe pain and discomfort. Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of stomach cancer. Early diagnosis and proper treatment can help reduce the likelihood of further complications.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Can you feel a tumor in your stomach?

If advanced, the tumor can cause visible swelling and change the shape of the abdomen.

2. Does stomach cancer spread rapidly?

Gastric cancer is a slow-growing cancer that usually takes more than a year to develop. In most cases, there are no visible symptoms at first. However, as the cancer progresses, various symptoms may appear.

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