What is Stomach Cancer ?
The cells in the stomach become cancerous and start growing rapidly forming a tumor. This leads to stomach cancer. About 95% of the cancers start in the glandular tissue which spreads along the wall of the stomach and into the blood stream and to the lymphatic system. Cancer can spread to the other organs in no time.
About stomach :
The role of the stomach is to break food into nutrients which the bodies absorb and release energy.
Types of stomach cancer :
The type of the tissue where the tumor is spreading determines the kind of cancer.
- Adenocarcinomas : This cancer is caused in the glandular lining of the stomach.
- Lymphoma : The cancer develops in the lymphocytes in the immune system.
- Sarcoma : The connective tissues like the muscle, fat or the blood vessels get sarcoma.
The other stomach cancers are carcinoid, small cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
Sometimes the Metastatic cancers from breast cancer, melanoma and other primary sites of cancer spread to the stomach causing stomach cancer.
Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer :
The conditions that show need not always be a reason for a malignant disease such as stomach cancer. However, the symptoms cannot be ignored. Let’s see the symptoms that cause cancer.
- Burping frequently
- Loss of appetite
- Other symptoms are
- Losing weight
- Bloody stools or dark stools
- Pain in the stomach
- Difficulty swallowing
- Breathlessness and fatigue
The symptoms need not always be a condition for cancer. Yet it is better to consult a physician and get yourself checked. If you are above 50 and you have persistent symptoms then he may ask you to get an endoscopy done to examine your stomach.
Causes and risk factors :
The risk factors of stomach cancer are
- Men are more prone to stomach cancers.
- People above 50 have chances of developing stomach cancer
- Helicobacter pylori is a condition that where the stomach is infected for a long time.
This also can be a risk factor.
- A diet devoid of fruits and vegetables can also increase the risk of stomach cancer.
- If a part of the stomach has been removed because of an ulcerous condition can also lead to cancer.
- A family history of stomach cancer
- An inherited cancer gene
Preparing for your appointment :
A prior preparation to the appointment is essential as you can discuss your doubts and queries. Here’s what you should do-
- Make sure of any pre-appointment restrictions
- Note down the symptoms you are going through
- Make a list of the medications in case you are taking one
- If the doctor suspects of any precancerous condition in your stomach then he will refer you to gastrointestinal disease specialist who also specializes in the opening of the digestive tract.
Tests and diagnosis :
Your specialist will conduct tests to be sure if it is stomach cancer. Doctors use many other tests to see if it’s a state of metastasis. Some of the tests also help in starting a right treatment procedure. For most cancers biopsy will help determine the kind of cancer and the stage it is in. Imaging tests are also one way to check the extent of the disease.
Your doctor may consider these factors when choosing a diagnosis test :
- Age and medical condition
- The type of cancer
- The previous test results
A tissue is removed from your affected area and is examined under a microscope. This method determines the presence of cancerous cells and also shows the stage of the disease.
It’s a procedure where the patient is sedated and a thin flexible tube called gastroscope or endoscope is inserted through the mouth into the stomach and the bowel. This device enables the doctor to see the inside of the stomach area.
Endoscopic ultrasound :
This is similar to an endoscopy except that the gastroscope has an ultrasound probe at the end which captures images of the stomach wall. It determines the extent of the cancer and also reveals if it has spread the nearby areas such as lymph nodes, tissue and organs.
Radiation is used on the cancerous area of the stomach to take pictures of the inside of the stomach.
Barium swallow :
The patient is asked to swallow liquid which contains barium. This coats the lining of the walls of the stomach; oesophagus and intestines. The barium improves the visibility of the cancer stricken area in the X-ray.
Computed tomography :
With the help of the CT scan the tumor size is measured. It clicks pictures of the inside of the stomach in three different angles.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging :
With the help of the magnetic fields an MRI captures the images of the stomach.
Positron emission tomography :
A radioactive sugar substance is inserted inside the body which is absorbed by the cells and obtain most of the energy from it enabling them to take pictures of the inside part of the body. This diagnosis is known as PET scan.
A laparoscope is inserted through the abdominal cavity to see how far the stomach cancer has spread.
A combination of treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or targeted therapy is used to treat stomach cancer. It goes undetected till advance stage makes it tough to sure - the disease. The treatment depends on certain factors such as-
- Possible side effects due to treatment
- Patients preferences
- Stage of cancer
- Overall health
An oncologist who specializes in treating cancer conducts a surgery on the patient and removes the tumor and some surrounding healthy tissue. The surgery adopted depends on the kind of cancer.
- When the tumor is in an early stage a nonsurgical treatment called endoscopic mucosal resection where the tumor is removed with an endoscope.
- When the stage is in 0 or 1 a part of the stomach and the nearby nodes are removed which is called as sub-total gastrectomy or partial gastrectomy.
- The remaining part of the stomach is connected to oesophagus or small intestine through the partial gastrectomy procedure.
If the cancer has reached the outer stomach lining without being spread to the lymph nodes then surgery along with chemotherapy or chemotheraply and radiation therapy ,ight be used together to take out the tumor.
Although the procedure is used to remove tumor it has its own side effects like he will not be able to consume adequate quantity of food.
Radiation therapy :
A radiation oncologist uses high energy x-rays to kill cancer prone area. This procedure is adopted using a machine outside the body to give radiation which is called external beam radiation therapy through which the size of the tumpr can be shrinked.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill the cancer cells. These drugs prevent the cancer cells from spreading further. The chemotherapy employs a specific cycle for a certain period. The patient may be adviced to take a specific drugs or a combination of different drugs.
Targeted therapy :
Genes, proteins and tissue environment are targeted for this treatment. This treatment prevents the cancer from growing further and protects the healthy cells from getting damaged.
Cancer can be dilapidating. The support system around you like your friends, relatives and your family being the foremost can be lift your morale and help you to get out of the disease that affects your physical and emotional balance of your body. There are cancer survivors who will discuss their fight with the disease and how they came out of it successfully and are leading their lives normally. These support system and other support centres will answer all your doubts, queries helping you to face and fight the disease bravely.
We are yet to discover the reason for cancer. But there are certain risks that amount to cancer which we can prevent and by undoing them there are chances that we may not get cancer. They are-
- Have a healthy diet with a combination of fruits and vegetables.
- Reduce the intake of salt and spices. Keep it bland.
- Quit smoking. It causes a lot of other cancers including stomach cancer.
Why choose KIMS ?
KIMS Hospital, Hyderabad is renowned in the treatment of stomach cancers. KIM’s hospital is considered the best stomach cancer hospital in India and has the distinction of being one of the best stomach cancer care centers in India. KIMS has the best stomach cancer care specialists in Hyderabad, using advanced techniques such as chemotherapy and stomach cancer radiation therapy to treat all forms of stomach cancer.