Stomach cancer is one of the most common and deadly cancers across the world. If numbers given by Globocon are to be believed, 7.83 lakh deaths occurred due to stomach cancer in the world in 2018.
It makes stomach cancer 3rd most deadliest and 5th most common cancer in the world. Stomach cancer is usually found in the elderly people above 65 years. And it is highly dependent on two major factors.
- Helicobacter pylori infection
Because of efficient treatment and prevention of H. Pylori, stomach cancer cases are gradually reducing in the last 10 years.
But still it remains one of the deadliest viruses, with more than 1 million cases of stomach cancer being diagnosed across the world. Ratio of stomach cancer incidence is highest in East Asia and chances of having stomach cancer is more in males than females.
Survival rate of stomach cancer was 70% in localized cancer, 32% in regional cancer and 6% in distant cancer between 2010 to 2016.So, it is always better that stomach cancer gets diagnosed at an early stage.
This is the reason we have created this post to help you understand what stomach cancer is, how to prevent it, what are the risk factors and how stomach cancer is treated.
After reading this post, you will have a complete idea about different stages of stomach cancer, various risk factors, preventive measures and treatment of the stomach cancer.
So, let’s start with a basic question.
Before understanding what stomach cancer is, it is important to know about what is stomach cancer. Stomach is an important part of the digestive system. When we eat food, first it is chewed in the oral cavity and then food enters in the esophagus tube.
Esophagus tube then takes food to the stomach. Stomach secretes gastric juices on the food. Food and gastric juices mix up and move further in the small intestine.
Cancer is basically uncontrolled growth of cells. So, in stomach cancer uncontrolled growth of cells takes place in the stomach and other body parts around. But, it is not an overnight thing. It takes years to develop. Before cancer cells develop, some pre cancerous changes take place. These changes do not cause any symptoms and often go unnoticed.
Symptoms occur after more development of cancerous cells and different parts of the stomach may show different types of symptoms. There are 5 stages of development of stomach cancer.
What are different types of stomach cancer?
It is the most common type of stomach cancer. It is found in 90 to 95% of the cases of stomach cancer. Adenocarcinoma is further divided into 2 types.
First one, Intestinal carcinoma are slow to grow and can be cured. It is found in elderly people.
Second one, Diffuse adenocarcinoma is rare and aggressive in nature. So, it spreads fast in the body. It is found in younger people.
Lymphoma is a rare type of stomach cancer. Occurrence of lymphoma in the stomach is 4% of total stomach cancer. Lymphoma is cancer of the immune system present in the stomach.
Carcinoid tumors form in hormone producing cells in the stomach. They generally do not spread to other organs and are rare in nature, 3% of total stomach cancers are carcinoid tumors. So, that was all about types of stomach cancer. Now we will see what causes stomach cancer.
The stages of stomach cancer are divided based on metastasis. Corresponding to the symptoms and rate of metastasis, the different stages of blood cancer are determined.
- Stage 0 : In this stage abnormal cells are found in the mucosa layer of the stomach. Mucosa is the innermost layer of the stomach.
- Stage 1 : In the stage 1 cancer cells would be formed in the mucosa layer and may be formed in the submucosa layer. Submucosa layer is the layer next to the mucosa layer.
- Stage 2 : In the stage 2 cancer cells spread to sub mucosa layer and may spread up to muscular cells and nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage 3 : In stage 3 cancer spreads to more lymph nodes and muscle layers. In stage 3 cancer also spreads to the nearby organs like adrenal gland, abdomen wall, small intestine, pancreas and spleen.
- Stage 4 : It is the most advanced stage of cancer. In this stage cancer spread to distant body parts like lungs, lever and distant lymph nodes.
Now that you have enough information about Stomach Cancer, how can you prevent it? You should know the symptoms beforehand so that you can take immediate action accordingly. So, now let’s understand the symptoms of Stomach Cancer.
As we have already mentioned, early stages of stomach cancer may not have any symptoms. symptoms can be found in later stages. This is the reason most stomach cancers are not found until they are grown so large.
Still, these are some symptoms of stomach cancer.
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss without any reason
- Pain in abdomen
- Feeling tiredness
- Blood in stool or in vomiting
- Chest burning
As you can see, these symptoms are too common to predict stomach cancer. These symptoms can be because of other reasons as well like stomach ulcers. But, if symptoms remain for a longer period without getting cured then one should go through cancer screening to identify the exact reason.
Now, let’s move to the important part.
There are various risk factors associated with stomach cancer. If you are associated with any of these risk factors, you should control them, in order to prevent stomach cancer.
- Age: Stomach cancer is more common in elderly people above 65. So, it is advisable to go through regular screening. It can happen to young people as well but it is not so common.
- Gender: Stomach cancer is more common in males than females.
- Helicobacter pylori infection: The presence of helicobacter pylori in the stomach causes stomach cancer. It is one of the major causes of stomach cancer.
- Obesity: Obesity or being overweight increases the risk of stomach cancer in the upper part.
- Diet: Eating processed, grilled, salted, pickled vegetables increases the risk of stomach cancer. Eating no fruits and green vegetables increases the risk of stomach cancer. High alcohol consumption also increases the risk of stomach cancer.
There are various types of treatments available for stomach cancer. It completely depends on types and stages of the cancer. After diagnosis, treatment starts. Treatment completely depends on location of cancer in the stomach, aggressiveness of cancer, stage of cancer. Here we have given all available treatments for stomach cancer from stage zero to more advanced stages
Chemotherapy is a chemical therapy used to kill cancerous cells in the body. Drugs travel throughout the stomach and kill cancerous cells in the stomach and other body parts around it. Sometimes, chemotherapy is given before the surgery to make removal of cancerous cells easy in the surgery. Or given after surgery to help remove remaining cancerous cells in the body.
Radiation therapy uses high power energy beams like protons and x-ray to kill cancerous cells. Just like chemotherapy it is given before and after surgery to help remove remaining cancerous cells. For advanced stages of cancer, radiation therapy is very useful to help relieve symptoms and pain.
Targeted drugs therapy is used to target weakness present in the cancerous cells. It specifically targets those weaker parts of cancerous cells.
The basic purpose of surgery is to remove all the cancerous cells and some healthy cells around it. It can include
- removing early tumours from stomach lining
- removing some parts of stomach
- removing entire stomach
- removal of lymph nodes to find cancer
Immunotherapy is used to make the immune system strong so that it can fight cancerous cells.
Stomach cancer treatment in India costs around 2.10 lakh to around 4.75 lakhs.
The stomach cancer treatment cost in India may vary subject to the following factors:
- Admission fee
- Oncologist fee
- Patient’s age
- A medical condition of the patient
- Type of stomach cancer
- Type of hospital
- Lab tests for diagnosis
The success rate of stomach cancer can be anywhere between 60-70% depending upon the patient’s condition and stage of the cancer.
We help them to find the best stomach cancer treatment hospitals in India and we have a panel of certified doctors to advise you on the same.
Early detection of stomach cancer is a key component of overall cancer control. It allows detecting cases in the early stage when treatment is more effective and there are greater chances of cure. The aim of stomach cancer treatment is to cure and prolong the life of people affected by it. The latest advances in stomach cancer treatment have created a new outlook on how to treat cancer.
To know more about the treatments available, you can contact us and we will get in touch with you soon.
Frequently Asked Questions and patient concerns:
How do you know you have stomach cancer ?
Stomach cancer has very generic symptoms. These symptoms may be caused by other reasons as well and not just stomach cancer. Symptoms may be vomiting, nausea, frequent heartburn, feeling of bloating and sudden weight loss without any reason. These are very common symptoms and may not always be stomach cancer. But if you are at risk from factors like elderly age, high fat diet and having symptoms for a long time, it would be better to visit the doctor and go through screening to find reasons behind the symptoms.
What are the early stages of stomach cancer ?
Early stages of stomach cancer often get unnoticed because of very common symptoms. In the early stages of stomach cancer patients may feel fullness even after small meals, loss of appetite, fatigue, pain just above belly button area, indigestion, heartburn. Patients may also get blood in vomit or in stool.
Is stomach cancer curable ?
Stomach cancer is often diagnosed in later stages. This is the reason stomach cancer can’t be completely cured in many cases. But it is treatable to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. Chemotherapy , Radiotherapy or surgery is carried out to remove cancerous cells and provide relief to the patient.
What is the survival rate of stomach cancer ?
Stomach cancer mostly occurs in older people. Average age of stomach cancer is 68 years. According to cancer.org, If stomach cancer is found and treated before it has spread outside of the stomach, its 5 year survival rate is 70%. If cancer is spread to outside tissues and local lymph nodes, its 5 year survival rate is 32%.If cancer is spread to distant parts of the body, 5 year survival rate is 6%.
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