Overview of stomach cancer
Stomach cancer, or gastric cancer, is a type of cancer that affects and starts from any part of the stomach. Stomach cancer is a disease that causes one of the highest amounts deaths in the world every year.
Of all the cancers that can affect the stomach almost 95 percent is diagnosed as cases of adenocarcinomas where the cancer originates from the stomach lining. Other cancers, although rare, include the lymphoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) and neuroendocrine tumours (NET) with different lines of treatment.
There are no definite symptoms for stomach cancer and most signs can be associated with other diseases.
Some symptoms will include:
- Chronic stomach pains
- Feeling stuffed
- Blood clots
- Vomiting blood
- Feeling or being sick
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Loss of appetite
The most common symptoms of stomach cancer are acidity and burping but this can be related to an umber of other diseases and hence not conclusive.
Men have a higher rate of getting stomach cancer compared to women and cases of cancer become higher in people aged 55 years and over. People who smoke have twice the risk of stomach cancer compared to non smokers. Taking anti inflammatory drugs, a history of cancer in the family, having some other form of cancer, exposure to radiation and hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of stomach cancer.
The foremost method of diagnosis is through a physical examination where a doctor tries to find out if any of the typical symptoms of stomach cancer are present. Some procedures like an upper endoscopy are the mainstay in diagnosing stomach cancer. It may be used when someone has certain risk factors or when signs and symptoms suggest this disease may be present.
The test lets the doctor see the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine. If abnormal areas are seen, biopsies (tissue samples) can be taken using instruments passed through the endoscope.
Other methods of diagnosis include imaging tests use x-rays, magnetic fields, sound waves, and use of or radioactive substances to highlight the cancer cells. Running imaging tests like Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan and Positron emission tomography scan (PET scan) are few such examples.
Imaging tests may be done for a number of reasons, including:
1. To help find out whether a suspicious area might be cancerous
2. To learn how far cancer may have spread
However, in what can be revolutionary, studies have revealed that a quick and simple breath test can diagnose stomach cancer. Scientists from Israel and China found the test was 90 percent accurate at detecting and distinguishing cancers from other stomach complaints in 130 patients.
Treatment of stomach cancer
The main treatments for stomach cancer are:
- Targeted therapy
- Radiation therapy
Often 2 or more approaches are used to treat stomach cancer effectively.
There are no hard and fast prevention techniques but after suffering from stomach cancer a person has to be cautious. The general idea should be to stay healthy and fit. Cutting down on alcohol and giving up on tobacco is a must. Stress levels have to be kept in control. Eating small meals and more of fruits and vegetables helps. One must also strive to stay healthy by exercising. It improves your cardiovascular (heart and circulation) functions, makes muscles stronger and reduces fatigue.
Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date posted: August 13, 2013