Stomach Cancer – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Stomach Cancer or Gastric Cancer - Signs, Symptoms and Treatments. Stomach Cancer Symptoms and Causes
Majority of stomach cancer or gastric cancer begins in the glandular tissue that lines the stomach. Stomach is a muscular sac which lies between the esophagus and small intestine.
The stomach is lined by three layers of powerful muscles that grind food and mixes it with gastric juices, liquefying it before passing it to the small intestine. Probably the most important juice in the stomach is hydrochloric acid, which is quite strong.
The stomach’s delicate tissues are kept safe from this powerful acid by a thick coating lining the stomach. Stomach cancer can also be called Gastric Cancer. This kind of cancer develops with the growth of malignant cells within the lining and stomach wall. In this type of cancer, the stomach cells become malignant or cancerous and start forming a tumor.
Stomach Cancer Symptoms and Causes
To quote Richard Baker who said “To get wealthy never risk your wellbeing. It is a fact that Health is the true wealth of a human being.”
Sometimes in our quest for wealth, we tend to neglect our health. Especially so, when the pain we feel in our stomach, is dismissed as trivial and just something ordinary. But pain in the stomach may mean something extremely serious like stomach cancer.
The symptoms of stomach cancer are similar to the signs of other diseases. For example peptic ulcer, which causes chronic pain. These symptoms are a result of unexplainable pain caused by food, indigestion, heartburn and nausea. They are mistakenly diagnosed as caused by psychosomatic stress illness that may be treated withH-2 blockers and antacids. It is also observed that, laser hair removal can delay the detection of stomach cancer. Other symptoms are weight loss, lack of appetite, sense of fullness despite a small meal, vomiting and pain in upper abdomen. There are also symptoms of mild cases of anemia, vomiting of blood, gastrointestinal bleeding and weakness.
The chance of a normal person getting stomach cancer is between 50-59%. Workers who are exposed to chemicals like rubber, asbestos fibers and timber are high risk groups. Also those who like to eat smoked foods, barbecued and salted foods are also prone to stomach cancer.
Initial stage of stomach cancer may be treatable. Treatment for cancers in the late stages may prolong the life span of the patient and may ease the pain sensations. Some remedies are radical surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Stomach Cancer Treatment
Stomach cancer treatment or gastric cancer treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or a mix of all these treatments.
The choice of treatment depends upon determining whether the cancer is simply in the stomach or whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
A person’s age and physical condition is also taken into consideration to select the type of treatment required by the patient. Treatments include the following:
The most common treatment for stomach cancer is surgery. With respect to the extent of the cancerous growth, partial (subtotal, or partial, gastrectomy) or all (total gastrectomy) in the stomach in addition to surgery of the surrounding tissues may be performed. Lymph nodes close to the tumor are also often removed during surgery.
When performing a partial gastrectomy, the remaining area of the stomach is attached to the esophagus and also the small intestine. When the entire stomach is removed, then the surgeon attaches the esophagus directly to the small intestine.
If stomach cancer or gastric cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, and if the entire tumor is surgically removed, then a complete recovery may be possible.
But unfortunately, stomach cancer isn’t diagnosed early, until the cancer has spread from the stomach wall to nearby lymph nodes or any other organ. At this advanced stage of cancer, it’s not possible to remove all of the cancer surgically, but nevertheless an operation might be recommended to ease pain, stop bleeding or obstruction.
In some instances of advanced stomach cancer, a laser light guided by an endoscope can vaporize the majority of the tumor as well as reduce obstruction without surgery.
Some types of ionizing radiation delivers more energy than the other radiations. The higher the energy, the deeper rays can penetrate inside the cancerous tissues. A thorough knowledge of the different radiations efficacy and the condition of the patient and the size of the cancerous growth, determines the kind of radiation therapy to be administered.
Oncologists select the suitable radiation energy which is most appropriate for the patient’s cancer.
The most popular types of radiation employed for cancer treatment are high-energy photons, protons and neutrons.
Radiation is recognized as a local treatment since healthy cells in the region being treated may also take a hit. It is not very effective against a cancer which has already spread to different areas of the body, because most types of radiation therapy doesn’t reach every part of the body. Radiation can be utilized in several ways:
For stopping further growth or to shrink initial phase cancer
To prevent cancer from recurring in another area.
To deal with symptoms for advanced cancer
The therapy uses drugs to help kill cancer cells. The medication is injected right into a vein via a needle or taken orally like a pill. This medications travels within the bloodstream and finds the cancerous cells which remain after surgical procedures or to treat cancers which has spread to other parts of the body.
Chemotherapy could also be used to control cancerous growth, prolong life or relieve the suffering of advanced disease. Sometimes this may be the only treatment needed. Doctors usually use chemotherapy along with other therapies.
For instance, in locally advanced stomach cancer, which takes place when the tumor affects just the stomach and nearby tissues, chemotherapy and radiation (radiotherapy) might be offered after surgery to increase survival chances and improve the patient’s quality of life. Chemotherapy may be given daily, once a week, as well as once a month, with consideration to the type of cancer being treated.
Stomach Cancer Prognosis
The Stomach cancer ‘prognosis’ usually refers to the diagnostic mapping of the stomach condition with regards to the cancerous growth. The prognosis of Stomach cancer can include the size of Stomach cancer, likelihood of complications of Stomach cancer, probable outcomes, prospects for recovery, recovery period for Stomach cancer, survival rates, death rates, along with other outcome possibilities within the overall prognosis of Stomach cancer. Naturally, such forecasts are by their nature unpredictable.
Usually a patient’s medical history and physical examination by the doctor is performed to diagnose Stomach Cancer or gastric cancer.
When the history and/or examination indicates a doubtful case of stomach cancer, a doctor will ask for laboratory tests to run the following examinations:
Fecal occult blood test, Upper gastrointestinal (GI) series or barium swallow and Endoscopy. Through endoscopy a doctor can look into the stomach. If an abnormal area appears, a sample of tissue can be removed from the suspicious area with the help of the endoscope.
This procedure is known as biopsy and is employed to determine the presence or lack of cancer cells in the suspect tissue.
Stomach Cancer Survival Rate
In Stomach cancer survival rate or Gastric cancer survival rate is determined by the
Stomach cancer exact type
Stage of stomach cancer
Grade of stomach cancer
As previously mentioned there are various kinds of stomach cancers. Most stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas. This kind of cancer comes from the glandular tissue lining the stomach. These are more or less common types of cancers, for example lymphoma of the stomach.
Sometimes a cancer may be the size of a small tumor and whether or not it has spread, requires through investigation. A stage one cancer may be more responsive to treatment compared to more advanced cancer.
The condition of the cancer is determined by the appearance of the cancerous cells under the microscope. The greater number of normal cells in the tumor means the cancer is still at first stage. The greater number of abnormal cells in the laboratory examination translates into advanced stage. Early stage cancers are usually less life threatening than advanced stage cancers.
Overall survival statistics don’t reveal much. The general 5 year survival statistics for stomach cancer or gastric cancer patients is about 20%. Which means approximately One out of 5 patients having stomach cancer remain alive for 5 years or more from the day of cancer detection. However the fact that lots of people have advanced stomach cancer when they’re first diagnosed never makes it the statistics. When the stomach cancer or gastric cancer is localized without spreading to the lymph nodes then 75% chances of survival beyond 5 years is observed and two thirds of those may be cured of the stomach cancer.