Patients Must Be Aware Of Gastric Stomach Cancer Causes, Symptoms And Stages

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gastric stomach cancer

Stomach cancer begins when cancer cells form in the inner lining of your stomach. These cells can grow into a tumor. Also called gastric stomach cancer, the disease usually grows slowly over many years.If you know the symptoms it causes, you and your doctor may be able to spot it early, when it’s easiest to treat.

What Causes Gastric Stomach Cancer?

Scientists don’t know exactly what makes cancer cells start growing in the stomach. But they do know a few things that can raise your risk for the disease. One of them is infection with a common bacteria, H. pylori, which causes ulcers. Inflammation in your gut called gastritis, a certain type of long-lasting anemia called pernicious anemia, and growths in your stomach called polyps also can make you more likely to get cancer.

Other things that seem to play a role in raising the risk include:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • A diet high in smoked, pickled, or salty foods
  • Stomach surgery for an ulcer
  • Type-A blood
  • Epstein-Barr virus infection
  • Certain genes
  • Working in coal, metal, timber, or rubber industries
  • Exposure to asbestos

Symptoms of gastric stomach cancer include indigestion and stomach discomfort or pain.

These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by gastric stomach cancer or by other conditions.

In the early stages of gastric stomach cancer, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Indigestion and stomach discomfort.
  • A bloated feeling after eating.
  • Mild nausea.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Heartburn.

In more advanced stages of gastric stomach cancer, the following signs and symptoms may occur:

  • Blood in the stool.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss for no known reason.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin).
  • Ascites (build-up of fluid in the abdomen).
  • Trouble swallowing.

After gastric stomach cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the stomach or to other parts of the body.

The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the stomach or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment.

The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:

  • CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) assay: Tests that measure the level of CEA in the blood. This substance is released into the bloodstream from both cancer cells and normal cells. When found in higher than normal amounts, it can be a sign of gastric stomach cancer or other conditions.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): A procedure in which an endoscope is inserted into the body, usually through the mouth or rectum. An endoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. A probe at the end of the endoscope is used to bounce high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echoes form a picture of body tissues called a sonogram. This procedure is also called endosonography.
  • CT scan (CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
  • PET scan (positron emission tomography scan): A procedure to find malignant tumor cells in the body. A small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein. The PET scanner rotates around the body and makes a picture of where glucose is being used in the body. Malignant tumor cells show up brighter in the picture because they are more active and take up more glucose than normal cells do. A PET scan and CT scan may be done at the same time. This is called a PET-CT.

There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

Cancer can spread through tissue, the lymph system, and the blood:

  • Tissue. The cancer spreads from where it began by growing into nearby areas.
  • Lymph system. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the lymph system. The cancer travels through the lymph vessels to other parts of the body.
  • Blood. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the blood. The cancer travels through the blood vessels to other parts of the body.

gastric stomach cancer may spread from where it began to other parts of the body.

When cancer spreads to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. Cancer cells break away from where they began (the primary tumor) and travel through the lymph system or blood.

  • Lymph system. The cancer gets into the lymph system, travels through the lymph vessels, and forms a tumor (metastatic tumor) in another part of the body.
  • Blood. The cancer gets into the blood, travels through the blood vessels, and forms a tumor (metastatic tumor) in another part of the body.

The metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if gastric stomach cancer spreads to the liver, the cancer cells in the liver are actually gastric cancer cells. The disease is metastatic gastric stomach cancer, not liver cancer.

The following stages are used for gastric stomach cancer:

Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ)

In stage 0, abnormal cells are found in the inside lining of the mucosa (innermost layer) of the stomach wall. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ.

Stage I

In stage I, cancer has formed in the inside lining of the mucosa (innermost layer) of the stomach wall. Stage I is divided into stage IA and stage IB, depending on where the cancer has spread.

  • Stage IA: Cancer may have spread into the submucosa (layer of tissue next to the mucosa) of the stomachwall.
  • Stage IB: Cancer:
    • may have spread into the submucosa (layer of tissue next to the mucosa) of the stomach wall and is found in 1 or 2 lymph nodes near the tumor; or
    • has spread to the muscle layer of the stomach wall.

Stage II

Stage II gastric stomach cancer is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB, depending on where the cancer has spread.

  • Stage IIA: Cancer:
    • has spread to the subserosa (layer of tissue next to the serosa) of the stomach wall; or
    • has spread to the muscle layer of the stomach wall and is found in 1 or 2 lymph nodes near the tumor; or
    • may have spread to the submucosa (layer of tissue next to the mucosa) of the stomach wall and is found in 3 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor.
  • Stage IIB: Cancer:
    • has spread to the serosa (outermost layer) of the stomach wall; or
    • has spread to the subserosa (layer of tissue next to the serosa) of the stomach wall and is found in 1 or 2 lymph nodes near the tumor; or
    • has spread to the muscle layer of the stomach wall and is found in 3 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor; or
    • may have spread to the submucosa (layer of tissue next to the mucosa) of the stomach wall and is found in 7 or more lymph nodes near the tumor.

Stage III

Stage III gastric stomach cancer is divided into stage IIIA, stage IIIB, and stage IIIC, depending on where the cancer has spread.

  • Stage IIIA: Cancer has spread to:
    • the serosa (outermost) layer of the stomach wall and is found in 1 or 2 lymph nodes near the tumor; or
    • the subserosa (layer of tissue next to the serosa) of the stomach wall and is found in 3 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor; or
    • the muscle layer of the stomach wall and is found in 7 or more lymph nodes near the tumor.
  • Stage IIIB: Cancer has spread to:
    • nearby organs such as the spleen, transverse colon, liver, diaphragm, pancreas, kidney, adrenal gland, or small intestine, and may be found in 1 or 2 lymph nodes near the tumor; or
    • the serosa (outermost layer) of the stomach wall and is found in 3 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor; or
    • the subserosa (layer of tissue next to the serosa) of the stomach wall and is found in 7 or more lymph nodes near the tumor.
  • Stage IIIC: Cancer has spread to:
    • nearby organs such as the spleen, transverse colon, liver, diaphragm, pancreas, kidney, adrenal gland, or small intestine, and may be found in 3 or more lymph nodes near the tumor; or
    • the serosa (outermost layer) of the stomach wall and is found in 7 or more lymph nodes near the tumor.

Stage IV

In stage IV, gastric stomach cancer has spread to distant parts of the body. source

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