Commonly referred as Gastric Cancer, stomach cancer is malignant tumor that arises from lining of the body organ, stomach. Due to rising awareness levels, cases of stomach cancer have decreases since past sixty years. However, the risk still prevails. There are different types of stomach cancer. They are classified depending upon the tissue from where it originates. While the most common one is adenocarcinoma that begins in glandular tissue of stomach, others are lymphomas, sarcomas, etc.
Causes of Stomach Cancer
While the exact cause of this type of cancer is still unknown, there are various factors leading to increasing the risk. Experts say that men are at twice the risk as compared to women in case of stomach cancer. At times, genetic abnormalities increase the risk and sometimes, also geography is the reason. People who have blood group ‘A’ are at a greater risk. Further, people who have crossed 70 years of age should take more caution. Individuals who have a family history of this type of cancer should take precautions. Apart from these, lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol, a diet devoid of fruits or vegetables, diet high in salt, etc. might lead to gastric cancer.
Symptoms and Early Detection
Early detection of gastric cancer is quite difficult as symptoms are not quite visible during early stages. However, indigestion, stomach discomfort, bloated feeling post lunch or dinner, mild nausea, reduced appetite and heartburn, etc. are some of the common symptoms. These symptoms seem to be quite common but they should not be ignored. It is better to see a healthcare specialist for proper diagnosis and timely treatment. At times, this type of cancer grows large before it can be detected. Other symptoms are discomfort in upper part or middle part of abdomen, blood in stool, vomiting, weight loss, pain in the stomach post eating and weakness or mild anaemia.
Diagnosis and Tests
When an individual notices such symptoms, he or she should immediately consult a specialist. The expert studies the inside of the stomach with the help of a tiny camera. This camera is passed down the throat of the individual to reach the stomach. Herein, the expert looks for the signs of cancer. For any kind of suspicions, expert collects a piece of tissue for analysis or biopsy. Imaging tests are used for diagnosing stomach cancer. It helps determine the stage or extent of stomach cancer. Depending upon the stage, experts decide the type of treatment. After imaging tests, experts conduct exploratory surgery to determine the spread of the disease beyond stomach.
Depending upon the stage of stomach cancer and the size of the tumour, the choice of treatment is made by specialists. The tumour is attacked in three ways, first is surgery to remove it, second it chemotherapy in combination with radiation therapy for controlling the spread.
Prognosis and Prevention
Eating plenty of fruits and avoiding cigarettes and alcohol lowers the risk of gastric cancer. The survival rate of individuals suffering with it depends upon the stage the disease is in.