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Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer or gastric cancer is cancer developing from the lining of the stomach.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal (belly) pain
  • Vague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
  • A sense of fullness in the upper abdomen after eating a small meal
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting, with or without blood
  • Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen
  • Low red blood cell count (anemia)

Risk Factors:

  • A diet high in salty and smoked foods
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Eating foods contaminated with aflatoxin fungus
  • Family history of stomach cancer
  • Infection with Helicobacter pylori
  • Long-term stomach inflammation
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Smoking
  • Stomach polyps

Common Types:

  • Adenocarcinomas
  • Lymphoma
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors
  • Carcinoid tumors


  • Biopsy
  • Endoscopy
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • X-ray
  • Barium swallow
  • Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Laparoscopy


  • Stage 1
    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 2 
    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 3 
    At this stage, the cancer may have grown through all the layers of the stomach. Or it may be a smaller cancer that has spread more extensively to the lymph nodes.
  • Stage 4 
    This stage indicates that the cancer has spread to distant areas of the body.


  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Reduce the amount of salty and smoked foods you eat
  • Stop smoking


  • Surgery
    Surgery is used to diagnose, stage and treat cancer, and to manage certain cancer-related symptoms. In early stages (stages 0 or I), when the cancer is still only in the stomach, surgery is used to remove the part of the stomach with cancer, called a subtotal or partial gastrectomy, as well as the nearby lymph nodes. In a partial gastrectomy, the surgeon connects the remaining part of the stomach to the esophagus or small intestine. If the cancer has spread to the outer stomach wall with or without having spread to the lymph nodes, surgery plus chemotherapy or chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be used. The surgeon can perform a subtotal gastrectomy or a total gastrectomy, which is the removal of all of the stomach. During a total gastrectomy, the surgeon attaches the esophagus directly to the small intestine.
  • Chemotherapy
    Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs designed to slow or stop the growth of rapidly dividing cancer cells in the body.
  • Radiation therapy
    Radiation therapy uses targeted energy (e.g., X-rays, radioactive substances) to destroy cancer cells, shrink tumors, and/or alleviate certain cancer-related symptoms.
  • Targeted therapy
    Targeted therapy blocks the growth and spread of cancer by preventing cancer cells from dividing or destroying them directly.

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