Stomach cancer starts when cancer cells begin in the inner line of the stomach. Stomach cancer is also called gastric cancer. About 90-95% of stomach cancers are referred to adenocarcinoma of the stomach. The stomach cancer begins from the cells that form the mucosa, which is the inner lining of the stomach that produces mucus.
What is stomach or gastric cancer?
Stomach wall consists of five layers:
- Mucosa is the innermost layer where most of the stomach cancer grows.
- Next, the supporting layer is called submucosa.
- Outside of submucosa layer, a thick layer of muscles that mix the content of the stomach is called muscular propria.
- Other two outer layers that wrapped the stomach are the subserosa and the outermost serosa
These layers are very important to identify the stage of the stomach or gastric cancer. As the cancers begin at mucosa and develop into the deeper layer, the prognosis gets worse.
different types of gastric or stomach cancer include:
- Adenocarcinoma — this type of cancer starts from the mucosa, the innermost lining of the stomach. About 90-95% stomach cancers are adenocarcinoma.
- Lymphoma — this type of cancer grows into the immune system tissue of the wall of the stomach. Only about 4% of the stomach cancers is lymphoma.
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) — the tumor that forms in the interstitial cells of the wall of the stomach with malignancy called the gastrointestinal stromal tumor. Though, GIST can be formed at any place in the digestive tract, mostly found in the stomach. This is a very rare type of cancer.
- Carcinoid tumor — the tumor that forms in hormone-making cells of cancer with malignancy called carcinoid tumor. Only 3% of the stomach cancers are the carcinoid tumor
What are the causes of gastric or stomach cancer?
- Ulcers caused by common bacteria, H. Pylori.
- Chronic Gastritis, an inflammation takes place in your gut.
- Pernicious anaemia.
- Polyps formed in the stomach with malignant growth.
- Being obese or overweight may cause the growth of cancer cell in the stomach.
- Salty, pickled and smoked diet also may risk developing an abnormality in stomach cell causing cancer.
- An earlier history of surgery for an ulcer in the stomach may cause a growth of cancer cell.
- Working in rubber, metal, timber, asbestos and coal industries may cause risk exposure to gastric cancer.
What are the symptoms of stomach or gastric cancer?
Stomach cancer typically has no early symptoms. Therefore, unfortunately, people often do not feel anything wrong is going on until the stomach reached an advanced stage. However, following symptoms which are happening consistently require immediate attention to a doctor for further investigation:
- Frequent heartburn
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constant bloating
- Loss of appetite
- Early satiety
- Blood in stool
- Stomach pain
- Excessive fatigue
What are the treatments for stomach gastric cancer?
Once the stomach cancer is detected, the treatment is individualized to the type and stage of disease:
- Endoscopic mucosal resection — removal of the tumors from the inner lining of the stomach made surgically at the early stage.
- Subtotal gastrectomy — a portion of the stomach is removed surgically.
- Total gastrectomy — entire stomach is removed surgically.
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
Authored By Dr G Parthasarathy - Surgical Gastroenterologist, Hyderabad