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What is Stomach Cancer?

What is Stomach Cancer?

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Liv Hospital Ulus
Prof. MD. Binnur Şimşek
Gastroenterology
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16 September 2023
Article Content
  • Stages of Stomach Cancer
  • What Are The Symptoms of Stomach Cancer?
  • Where is Stomach Cancer Pain Felt?
  • What are the Causes of Stomach Cancer?
  • How is Stomach Cancer Diagnosed?
  • Stomach Cancer Diagnosis Methods: Endoscopy
  • Imaging Tests
  • What are the Treatment Methods for Stomach Cancer?
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Stomach cancer affects the stomach, which is part of the digestive system. Briefly, “What is stomach cancer?” For the question, it can be defined as a type of cancer that develops in the mucosal cells of the inner surface of the stomach. Stomach cancer is a very common health problem worldwide and is also called gastric cancer in the medical literature.

    Stages of Stomach Cancer

    Stomach cancer is a type of cancer that can be seen in different stages in terms of stages.

    The stages of stomach cancer are:

    Stage 0: This stage is the earliest stage where cancer is limited to surface cells in the lining of the stomach. At this stage, the cancer is limited to the mucosal layer and has not spread.
    Stage I: Stomach cancer begins to grow into the deeper layers of the stomach wall. But it has not spread to surrounding tissues or lymph nodes.
    Stage II: In stage 2, cancer begins to spread to the stomach wall and sometimes to surrounding tissues.
    Stage III: In this stage, the cancer begins to spread to the lymph nodes as well as the surrounding tissues.
    Stage IV: At this stage, stomach cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body. Depending on the areas of spread, treatment options may vary and are generally focused on palliative care (symptom relief). At this stage, it may be more difficult to completely cure the cancer.

    What Are The Symptoms of Stomach Cancer?

    Stomach cancer usually does not cause symptoms in its early stages and may be difficult for patients to detect. However, as the disease progresses, some symptoms may appear. Stomach cancer symptoms may vary from person to person and are similar to other stomach diseases. But the most critical symptoms of stomach cancer are loss of appetite and unexpected rapid weight loss. These symptoms may indicate that the cancer has spread.

    Stomach cancer symptoms generally include:

    • Stomache ache,
    • Appetite and weight loss,
    • Nausea,
    • Bloody stool,
    • Indigestion,
    • Tiredness,
    • Difficulty swallowing.

    In the final stage of stomach cancer, treatment options become more limited. At this stage, disease symptoms are more serious.

    Stomach cancer stage 4 symptoms include:

    Severe Abdominal Pain: In stage 4, stomach cancer has usually spread to surrounding tissues. This condition can cause severe and constant pain in the abdominal area.
    Weight Loss: Stage 4 stomach cancer patients may experience rapid and significant weight loss. This may be associated with symptoms such as weight loss, loss of appetite, and nausea.
    Extreme Fatigue: Advanced stage stomach cancer can greatly affect the body and create a feeling of extreme fatigue.
    Loss of Appetite and Difficulty in Swallowing: In this phase, difficulty in swallowing may increase and food intake may become difficult. Appetite loss may continue and patients may have difficulty eating.
    Bloody Stools or Vomiting: Stage 4 stomach cancer can cause serious symptoms such as bloody stools or vomiting.
    Jaundice: As stomach cancer progresses, it can put pressure on the liver and cause jaundice. Jaundice is seen as yellowing of the skin and eyes.

    Where is Stomach Cancer Pain Felt?

    Stomach cancer pain can vary from person to person, and the intensity of the pain may vary depending on the stage, size, and extent of spread of the cancer.

    But usually stomach cancer pain can be felt in the following areas:

    Upper Abdominal Pain: Stomach cancer usually begins in the stomach or near the stomach entrance, so pain and discomfort may be felt in the upper abdominal area.
    Back Pain: As stomach cancer progresses, pain may be felt in the back area. Especially when stomach cancer reaches a certain stage, you may feel pain near the spine or ribs.
    Chest Pain: When stomach cancer begins in areas of the stomach close to the esophagus, some people may experience chest pain or a burning sensation.
    Stomach Ulcer-Like Pain: Some cases of stomach cancer begin with stomach ulcer-like or heartburn-like symptoms. For this reason, burning, stinging or aching sensations in the stomach area may also frequently occur.

    What are the Causes of Stomach Cancer?

    Although the specific cause of stomach cancer is not known clearly, some factors may increase the risk of cancer.

    What causes stomach cancer?” The risk factors that can be given in response to the question are:

    • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which can settle on the inner surface of the stomach and cause gastroenteritis.
    • Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption,
    • Excessive consumption of salty, smoked or canned foods,
    • Having stomach cancer cases in your family history,
    • Advancing age,
    • Some stomach polyps,
    • Chronic stomach inflammation (gastritis) or stomach surgeries,
    • Certain genetic mutations.

    How is Stomach Cancer Diagnosed?

    Diagnosing stomach cancer is a complex process that involves a number of stages. First, the doctor takes a detailed history of the patient's health history, symptoms, family history, and risk factors. This forms the basis of the diagnostic process. During the physical examination, the doctor examines the abdomen and other parts of the body and looks for any abnormalities. He or she can then check for cancer markers with blood tests. But these checks are not sufficient for the diagnosis of stomach cancer.

    Stomach Cancer Diagnosis Methods: Endoscopy

    One of the most commonly used methods to clarify and confirm the diagnosis is a procedure called endoscopy. During this procedure, the endoscope, a flexible tube, is inserted into the stomach to directly visualize the inner surface of the stomach and, if necessary, to take a biopsy.

    Imaging Tests

    Imaging tests (computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging) are also used to evaluate how far the cancer has spread. These tests are important in determining the stage of the cancer and help create the appropriate treatment plan. The diagnosis helps the treatment by determining the type of cancer and its degree of spread.

    What are the Treatment Methods for Stomach Cancer?

    Stomach cancer may be in different stages when diagnosed, and the treatment approach may vary depending on this stage and the patient's general health condition.

    The main methods used for stomach cancer treatment are:

    Surgical Intervention: By surgery, the cancerous area and surrounding healthy tissues can be removed. Depending on the stage of stomach cancer, surgery may involve the entire stomach or just the cancerous area. In some cases, nearby lymph nodes may also be removed.
    Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy can be used in the treatment of stomach cancer to kill cancer cells before surgery or to control the spread of cancer afterwards.
    Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy drugs are used to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. Chemotherapy can be used alone in the treatment of stomach cancer, or in combination with surgery or radiotherapy when necessary.
    Targeted Therapy: Some types of stomach cancer have targeted therapy. These treatments target cancer cell-specific proteins and try to stop the growth of cancer cells.
    Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy acts on the immune system, helping the body recognize and destroy cancer cells. It is being investigated as a new approach to the treatment of stomach cancer.
    Palliative Care: When stomach cancer is diagnosed in advanced stages, treatment may focus on relieving symptoms rather than completely eradicating the cancer. Palliative care aims to improve the patient's quality of life.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the Blood Values Used in the Diagnosis of Stomach Cancer?

    Blood tests to diagnose stomach cancer and monitor the treatment process include evaluating various blood parameters. These tests are extremely important in evaluating the patient's health status and guiding the treatment process. In general, hemoglobin levels in stomach cancer patients may be below normal. This is because anemia is common in stomach cancer. At the same time, white blood cells may increase in the development of inflammation due to stomach cancer.

    Is Low White Blood Blood Cancer?

    However, in some people, low levels of white blood cells may be observed depending on the body's biological process or chemotherapy treatment. People who had a blood test asked, "Is low white blood blood cancer?" Although it seeks to answer the question, there is no specific relationship between white blood cells and cancer. On the other hand, CA 19-9 (cancer antigen 19-9) and CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) values give the most accurate information about stomach cancer. These values may increase in case of stomach cancer.

    Is Stomach Pain an Indicator of Cancer?

    The main difference between a serious health problem such as stomach cancer and other common stomach pains is the continuity and severity of symptoms. Stomach pain due to stomach cancer can often be more persistent and severe than other stomach problems. This pain can vary depending on the location of the stomach cancer and is often associated with meals. It increases especially after meals and may manifest itself with a feeling of rapid satiety.

    * Liv Hospital Editorial Board has contributed to the publication of this content .
    * Contents of this page is for informational purposes only. Please consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. The content of this page does not include information on medicinal health care at Liv Hospital .
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