Stomach cancer as the name suggests begins in the stomach. Stomach cancers can spread in several ways. They can grow through the wall of the stomach and destroy nearby organs. They can also spread to the lymph vessels and nearby lymph nodes. As the stomach cancer becomes more progressive, it can travel through the bloodstream and spread to organs such as the liver, lungs, and bones. Stomach cancer is commonly seen in older adults usually 50 years and older.
Types of stomach cancer.
The various kinds of stomach cancer are Adenocarcinoma. Around 90-95 percent of stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas. This type of cancer grows from the cells that form the closest to the center lining of the stomach. Lymphoma is cancer of the immune system that are at times found in the wall of the stomach. Around 4 percent of the cancers are lymphomas. Carcinoid tumor begins in the cells of the stomach that make hormones. Most of the tumors do not increase to other organs. Around 3 percent of the stomach cancers are carcinoid adenocarcinoma.
Symptoms and Causes
Doctors are unable to predict the exact causes of the Stomach Cancer but there are certain factors which increase risks of getting stomach cancer. Inflammation in Gastritis, long lasting anemia, being overweight, type A blood, exposure to asbestos is the common causes considered. The most frequent symptoms are:
- Frequent heartburn
- Loss of appetite.
- Bloating that is continuous.
- Excessive fatigue.
- Pain in the stomach.
Since people with stomach cancer hardly show symptoms in the early stages, the disease is often not diagnosed until it’s more progressive. To make a diagnosis, the doctor will initially do a physical exam to check for any abnormalities. Most diagnostic tests must be done if your doctor believes that you display signs of stomach cancer. Diagnostic tests definitely look for the tumors that are doubted and other abnormalities in the stomach and esophagus. These tests may contain:
- A higher gastrointestinal endoscopy.
- A biopsy (tissue sample)
- Tests, like CT scans and X-rays.
- Physical examinations and medical history
- Surgery: Doctor will remove certain part of your stomach or some nearby tissues which are affected by the tumor. Using surgery, the cancerous cells are removed to stop cancer being spread.
- Chemotherapy: In chemotherapy, medicines play an important role and doctor tries to reduce your cancer symptoms using medicines. Chemotherapy will continue for several weeks your doctor will examine you regularly for any side effects.
- Radiation therapy: High energy rays or particles are targeted on cancerous tissues to kill them and stop being spread. X-ray or other similar machine is used to project radiation beams.
- Chemo-radiation: Your doctor might use chemotherapy along with radiation to shrink tumor before the actual surgery.
The commonly seen complications in stomach cancer are gastrointestinal bleeding, Spread of stomach cancer to abdominal cavity will cause pressure to the common bile duct. The patient has indications of yellow eye white and skin and gray stool.
The tumor causes stomach perforation, which causes peritonitis that is the swelling of the membranes of the abdominal wall and organs.
Other complications include weight gain, hair loss, infection, loose bowel movement digestive issues, etc.
Post Operative Care
After the treatment is over, the doctor will want the patient to have daily checkups to see how the patient is doing. During these appointments, your doctor will check you and you will have several imaging and physical tests. Your doctor will also inquire how you are feeling, how you are handling with your diet after surgery and whether you have had any symptoms or are concerned about anything.
If the patient has undergone surgery, you will need to see your surgeon on a regular basis to ensure you have recovered well from the operation.
Take proper medications prescribed by the doctor to prevent sores, ulcers and stomach infections. Eat healthy diet and quit smoking for smoother recovery.