Gastric 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. 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:
- 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.
In more advanced stages of gastric stomach cancer, the following signs and symptoms may occur:
- Blood in the stool.
- 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 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.
- 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 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.