Stomach cancer starts from the inner lining of the stomach. These cells then start to grow and form a tumor. The tumor growth is generally inside the stomach area but rarely does it grow into the adjacent organ too. The disease has a slow progression and may take years to spread. Like other cancers, early detection can save a person’s life or improve their quality of life.
The symptoms are never alarming. The feeling of acid flux, acidity, indigestion, not feeling hungry, and burning sensation. Since these symptoms can be because of several other simple reasons, stomach cancer goes unnoticed in its early stages. As cancer advances, one starts to feel weak and energy less. Eating becomes painful along with bloating, constipation or vomiting.
Scientists are yet to figure out the real cause of stomach cancer but the study of cases has shown a relationship with few factors.
- Smoking is seen in most of the cases and hence is accepted as a risk factor.
- Obesity has also been seen as a key factor in developing stomach cancer.
- Genetic disposition is often a factor as observed.
- Ingestion of tobacco and other carcinogens over a period.
Cancer can be mainly categorized into three types. Adenocarcinomas account for about 95% of the cases and are the most commonly seen in stomach cancer. Carcinoid is rarely found. Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST) is more painful and is found in a few specific nervous system cells in the stomach.
Stomach cancer has been divided into several stages depending on the amount of tumor growth and spread to other tissues and organs. Stage 1 to Stage 4 also defines treatment, possible cure, quality of life, and life span after detection. There are about 60 to 70% chances of a person survive for a period of 5 years if in stage 1. The chances reduce to below 5% if a person is in stage 4.
Although the real reason is not clear, yet medical science has given out certain measures which can be adopted to prevent the occurrence.
- Completely avoid tobacco
- Limit alcohol
- Quit smoking
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Avoid processed food especially with strong preservatives.
- Take necessary precautions if you work in rubber or coal industry.
Stomach cancer is common worldwide. Since initial symptoms are similar to other simple stomach ailments, it generally goes unnoticed. Thus mostly this cancer as others is detected in late stages only. One can though pick up the disease early during an annual medical checkup. It is important that one must share all the symptoms with the doctor so that those can be correlated with blood and other annual tests.