Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is the growth of abnormal cells in the lining and wall of the stomach. It is the fourth most common cancer and occurs mainly in men over 40 years of age.
Stomach cancer is difficult to detect in its early stages because its early symptoms are absent or mild.
A diet high in nitrates (a common meat preservative) and pickled or smoked foods may increase the risk of gastric cancer. Excess alcohol consumption also increases the risk of stomach cancer.
Several conditions may be precancerous and may increase the risk of stomach cancer. They include:
The four stages of stomach cancer progression are:
Symptoms of stomach cancer include:
Your doctor will review your symptoms and examine you. Initial diagnostic studies may include an "upper GI" x-ray, where you swallow barium which shows up on x-ray and outlines any abnormality in the stomach. You may also have a procedure called an endoscopy, where a slim, flexible, lighted tube is passed through your esophagus into the stomach. This telescope-like tube allows the doctor to see any abnormalities. The endoscopy also enables the doctor to take a piece of any abnormal tissue and send it for tests to determine if it is cancerous.
Your doctor may also order:
Surgical removal of the entire tumor and surrounding lymph nodes may cure some people, especially if the tumor is detected early.
Partial gastrectomies (partial stomach removal) are more often performed for lower-end tumors (closer to the small intestine); near-total gastrectomies are commonly done for tumors closer to the esophagus.
Radiation therapy does not offer a cure, but it may be used to help lessen pain.
The use of chemotherapy is still under investigation.
The cancer may be curable in 85% of patients whose early cancers have not spread through the stomach lining tissues. Cancer may not be curable, however, in those individuals whose cancer has spread beyond the stomach lining. People with disease in the early stage account for 10% to 20% of all cases of gastric cancer. Ask your doctor for survival rates for gastric cancer in your stage of disease.
Dr. José Alberto Marín
Calles Plutarco Elías Calles # 1107 sur. Col. Nogales
Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. México
Telefonos: (1) 613-2162 y 613-4938