Stomach Cancer

What Is Stomach Cancer?


Stomach is a hollow muscular sac like organ that plays a major role in the digestion of food. It is located in the left upper part of the abdomen just below the ribs. Stomach receives and holds the food and starts to digest it by secreting gastric juice. The food and gastric juice are mixed and then emptied into the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum.

Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is a disease in which malignant cells form in the lining of the stomach. Stomach cancer generally develops slowly and do not show any prominent sign or symptom.

Anatomy Of Stomach (Gastric)

Types of Stomach Cancer

Stomach Cancer Occurrence Rate in India

A recent study conducted by Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) on cancer mortality in India has revealed that Stomach Cancer is the second biggest killer in India. An approximation of 22,200 men and 27,500 women die of Gastric Cancer every year in India. Experts revealed that this high rate of Stomach Cancer is contributed by unhealthy diet and lifestyle.

In many places in India the diet is low in fibre content. Spicy food and lots of non-vegetarian food can cause the chronic inflammation of the stomach lining, which if left untreated can turn cancerous.

What Are The General Symptoms Of Stomach (Gastric) Cancer?

Most Stomach (Gastric)  cancers do not cause any symptoms until they have spread too far to be cured, but sometimes, we do get symptoms at an early stage.

Early stages

Advanced stages

These symptoms are more likely to be caused by conditions other than Stomach (Gastric)  cancer. Still, it’s important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.

What Are The General Causes Of Stomach (Gastric) Cancer?

The definite causatives of Stomach Cancer are yet under study. However, there is a strong correlation between a diet high in smoked and salted foods and Stomach Cancer.

Throughout these years of analysis and diagnosis of the disease certain risk factors have been identified that highly increases the probability of the occurrence of the disease. Some of them are discussed below:


Stomach Cancer is more common in men than in women.



The risk of Stomach Cancer increases with increasing age. Most people diagnosed with Stomach Cancer are between their late 60s and 80s.


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection

It is a major cause of Stomach Cancer, especially cancers in the lower (distal) part of the stomach. Every one in three Stomach Cancer cases can be attributed to H pylori infection.


Stomach lymphoma

People who have had a certain type of lymphoma of the stomach known as mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma have an increased risk of getting adenocarcinoma of the stomach.



Stomach Cancers are more likely to develop in people who have had part of their stomach removed to treat non-cancerous diseases such as ulcers.


Tobacco use

Tobacco usage is the major cancer causative. The rate of Stomach Cancer is almost doubled in smokers.


Previous stomach surgery

This very rare inherited condition reduces the ability of skin cells to repair DNA damage caused by sun exposure.


Hypertrophic Gastropathy

Excess growth of the stomach lining causes large folds in the lining and leads to low levels of stomach acid. This is a rare condition that accounts to Stomach Cancer.


Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

People with this syndrome are at greatly increased risk of getting colorectal cancer and have a slightly increased risk of getting Stomach Cancer.


Pernicious anemia

Certain cells in the stomach lining normally make a substance called intrinsic factor (IF) that we need to absorb vitamin B12 from foods. People without enough IF may end up with a vitamin B12 deficiency, which affects the body’s ability to make new red blood cells and can cause other problems as well. This condition is called pernicious anemia. Along with anemia (too few red blood cells), people with this disease have an increased risk of Stomach Cancer.


If you have any of the above symptoms, please get yourself checked. It may be noting, but it’s best to be sure!

Can Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Be Prevented?

Stomach Cancer can be prevented to an extent by avoiding the risk factors. One can lower the risk of developing Stomach Cancer by

What Are The Stages Of Stomach (Gastric) Cancer?

The stages of adenocarcinoma Stomach Cancer include:

Stage I

At this stage, the tumor is limited to the layer of tissue that lines the inside of the stomach. Cancer cells may also have spread to a limited number of nearby lymph nodes.

Stage II

The cancer at this stage has spread deeper, growing into the muscle layer of the stomach wall. Cancer may also have spread to more of the lymph nodes.

Stage III

At this stage, the cancer may have grown through all the layers of the stomach and spread to nearby structures. Or it may be a smaller cancer that has spread more extensively to the lymph nodes.

Stage IV

This stage indicates that the cancer has spread to distant areas of the body.

Survival Rates Of Stomach (Gastric) Cancer?

Relative survival statistics compare the survival of patients diagnosed with cancer with the survival of people in the general population who are the same age, race, and sex and who have not been diagnosed with cancer. Because survival statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. No two patients are entirely alike, and treatment and responses to treatment can vary greatly.

Cancer stage at diagnosis highly determines treatment options and has a strong influence on the length of survival. The earlier Stomach Cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving.

Can Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Be Detected Early?

Since people with Stomach Cancer rarely show symptoms in the early stages, the disease is often not diagnosed until it’s more advanced.

However, with the advancement in science and technology a few tests and procedures aids in locating the disease at an early stage. Some of the tests are:

What Are The Treatments Available?

The main treatments for Stomach Cancer are:
Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be given before surgery to help shrink a tumor so that it can be more easily removed. Chemotherapy is also used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that might remain in the body.
Targeted therapy
Targeted therapy uses drugs that attack specific abnormalities within cancer cells. Targeted drugs used to treat Stomach Cancer include:
Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams of energy, such as X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy can be used before surgery to shrink a stomach tumor so that it’s more easily removed. Radiation therapy can also be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that might remain around your stomach.
In this procedure, vaccines and medication are used to stimulate the immune system of the body. It boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight against cancer. Substances made by the body or in a laboratory are used to improve or restore immune system function. Immunotherapy works in either of the following ways:
Is There Curative Treatment For Stomach (Gastric) Cancer?

This is dependent on te stage the Cancer has reached. However, the Cancer is usually in an advanced stage when it is diagnosed. In such cases, it can be treated, but rarely cured.


How Frequently Should One Visit Doctor For Early Diagnosis?

If you have any of the symptoms, please do visit the doctor.


How Can I As A Patient Know It Early?

If you feel any of the symptoms mentioned in the Symptoms section , you should probably visit a doctor. You can also get your genetic make-up checked to see if you are prone to Stomach (Gastric) cancer or not.