Statistics on Stomach (Gastric)Cancer
Gastric cancer is most common in the countries of Japan, China, South America and Eastern Europe. In Japan, gastric cancer is the most common cancer in both males and females.
Over the past three decades, the rate of gastric cancer has been steadily decreasing.
Gastric cancer is rare before age 40, but the incidence steadily increases with age until its peak in the seventh decade of life.
Types of stomach cancer
Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, begins when healthy cells in the stomach become abnormal and grow out of control. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. Cancer can begin in any part of the stomach. It can also spread to nearby lymph nodes and other parts of the body, such as the liver, bones, lungs, and a woman’s ovaries.
Most stomach cancers are a type called adenocarcinoma. This means that the cancer started in the glandular tissue that lines the inside of the stomach. Other types of cancerous tumors that form in the stomach include lymphoma, gastric sarcoma, and carcinoid tumors, but these are rare.
Symptoms and Signs
People with stomach cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs.
Stomach cancer is usually not found at an early stage because it often does not cause specific symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may be vague and can include those listed below. These symptoms can also be caused by many other illnesses, such as a stomach virus or an ulcer.
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting, particularly vomiting up solid food shortly after eating
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Bloating of the stomach after meals
- Loss of appetite
Symptoms of advanced stomach cancer may include:
- Weakness and fatigue
- Vomiting blood
- Blood stool
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
Risk Factors for Stomach Cancer
There are multiple risk factors for the development of gastric adenocarcinoma, including precursor conditions, genetic and environmental conditions, and age.
- Chronic atrophic gastritis
- Pernicious anaemia
- Partial gastrectomy
- Helicobacter pylori infection
- Ménétrier’s disease
- Gastric (stomach) polyps
- Barrett’s oesophagus
Genetic and environmental conditions
- Family historyof gastric cancer;
- Blood group A;
- Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer syndrome;
- Low socioeconomic status;
- Low consumption of fruits and vegetables;
- Consumption of salted, smoked, or poorly preserved foods; and
- Cigarette smoking.
Age is also a risk factor considering that gastric adenocarcinoma is rare before age 40, but the incidence steadily increases until it reaches its peak in the seventh decade of life.
Prognosis of Stomach (Gastric)Cancer
The outcomes following a diagnosis of gastric adenocarcinoma are varied, depending on several prognostic indicators such as:
- The aggressiveness of the cancer;
- The size (maximal diameter) of the cancer;
- The location of the tumour;
- If it has invaded lymph nodes or the blood supply; and
- Your age.