Gastric Cancer – What it is, Symptoms and Treatments of this condition. In addition, Gastric Cancer is the accumulation of an abnormal (malignant and cancerous) group of cells that form a mass in a part of the stomach . Gastric Cancer , also known as stomach cancer , affects the stomach , which is found in the upper part of the abdomen and just below the ribs. The stomach is part of the body’s digestive system.
It produces acids and enzymes that break down food before it passes into the small intestine. Cancer can develop anywhere in the stomach and spread toward the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach ) or into the small intestine.
Causes of Gastric Cancer: Studies still don’t understand exactly what causes cancer cells to start growing in the stomach triggering Gastric Cancer . But they do know a few things that can increase your risk for the disease. One is infection with a common bacteria, H. pylori, which causes ulcers.
Inflammation in your gut called gastritis, a certain type of long- lasting anemia called pernicious anemia , and growths in your stomach , called polyps, can also make you more likely to get cancer. Other things that seem to play a role in increasing risk include:
- Overweight or obese
- Diet rich in smoked, pickled, or salted foods
- Stomach surgery for an ulcer
- type A blood
- Epstein-Barr virus infection
- certain genes
- Working in coal, metal, wood or rubber industries
- asbestos exposure
Symptoms of Gastric Cancer: Early Gastric Cancer has no associatedsymptoms ; However, some patients with incidental complaints are diagnosed with early gastric cancer .
Most symptoms of Gastric Cancer reflect advanced disease. All physical signs in Gastric Cancer are late events. By the time they develop, the disease is practically invariably too advanced for curative procedures.
Signs and symptoms of Gastric Cancer include the following:
- nausea or vomiting
- postprandial fullness
- loss of appetite
- Melena or pallor from anemia
- Weight loss
- palpable stomach enlarged with splash succussion
- Enlarged lymph nodes, such as Virchow’s nodes (ie, left supraclavicular) and Irish node (anterior axillary)
Late complications of Gastric Cancer may include the following features:
- Pathological peritoneal and pleural effusions;
- Obstruction of the gastric outlet, gastroesophageal junction or small intestine;
- Bleeding in the stomach from esophageal varices or in the anastomosis after surgery;
- Intrahepatic jaundice caused by hepatomegaly;
- Extra-hepatic jaundice;
- Starvation of hunger or cachexia of tumor origin.
Gastric Cancer Diagnoses: Since people with Gastric Cancer rarely have symptoms in the early stages, the disease is often not diagnosed until it is more advanced.
To make a diagnosis of Gastric Cancer , your doctor will first perform a physical exam to check for any abnormalities. They may also order a blood test, including a test for the presence of H. pylori bacteria.
More diagnostic tests will need to be done if your doctor believes you show signs of Gastric Cancer . Diagnostic tests specifically look for suspicious tumors and other abnormalities in the stomach and esophagus. These tests can include:
- An upper GI endoscopy (a procedure that uses a small camera on the end of a thin, flexible tube to look at the esophagus and stomach )
- A biopsy (tissue sample)
- Imaging tests such as CT scans and X-rays
Gastric Cancer Treatments: Once Gastric Cancer has been diagnosed and staged, there is a lot to think about before you and your doctors choose a treatment plan. You may feel like you must make a decision quickly, but it’s important to give yourself time to absorb the information you’ve just learned.
Ask your cancer care team questions. You can find some good treatment alternatives. The main treatments for gastric cancer are:
- Targeted therapy;
- Radiation therapy.
Often the best approach uses 2 or more of these treatment methods.