Gastric cancer, or stomach cancer, begins in the cells lining the mucosal layer and spreads through the outer layer as it grows.
Diet, age and other stomach diseases can put you at a risk of developing gastric cancer. Risk factors of gastric cancer include:
- Diseases like chronic gastritis, helicobacter pylori infection of the stomach, pernicious anemia, intestinal metaplasia, and gastric polyps;
- Diet rich in salt and smoked foods;
- Diet low in fruits and vegetables;
- Consuming foods that are not made or stored properly;
- Cigarette smoking;
- Being older or male;
- Family history of gastric cancer.
Gastric cancer can lead to various symptoms such as:
- Stomach discomfort
- Stomach pain
- Bloated feeling after eating
- Loss of appetite
- Mild nausea
If you have a more advanced stage of gastric cancer, you may also suffer from the following symptoms:
- Blood in the stool;
- Unconditional weight loss;
- Difficulty swallowing;
- Fluid build-up in your abdomen;
There are four stages of gastric cancer:
About 80% of gastric cancers are adenocarcinomas and occur in the lining of the stomach. 40% of victims have cancer in their lower part of abdomen (pylorus), 40% in the middle part (body) and 15% have cancer in the upper abdomen (cardia). About 10% cases have cancer in more than one part of the organ.
Stage 0: Called carcinoma in situ. During this stage, abnormal cells are found in the innermost layer of the stomach wall. These cells can become cancerous and spread to other tissues.
Stage 1: In this stage, cancer development takes place and is divided into two stages. Cancer completely spreads to the innermost layer of your stomach wall.
Stage 2: Cancer can spread to 7-15 lymph nodes near the tumor at the innermost layer, 6 lymph nodes in the middle layer and also to the outermost layer.
Stage 3: Cancer spreads to the inner, middle and outer layers of the stomach and to the organs next to your stomach.
Stage 4: Cancer spreads to about 15 organs next to the stomach and also some other parts of your body.
Precautions and treatment:
Consuming a western diet without highly salted or smoked foods and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can decrease the risk of gastric cancer. Eating foods high in antioxidants and vitamin C is another preventative for gastric cancer.
Surgery such as gastrectomy can be used to treat gastric cancer. The tumor is localized to part of the stomach near to the esophagus. Partial gastrectomy is removal of part of the stomach, which is performed if there is a large tumor. Cancer radiation therapy can also be used to kill the cancerous cells that lead to gastric cancer.