Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells in the body and cells in any body part can become cancer and can potentially spread to other body parts. Stomach cancer is one such cancer that starts in the stomach. It is also known by the name of gastric cancer. The stomach is a sac-like organ that has the function of storing, assimilating and digesting food. Stomach cancer is estimated to be the fifth most common type of cancer that tend to develop over a course of several years. There are various types of gastric cancer, which are adenocarcinoma, lymphoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumours and carcinoid tumours. Some of the common symptoms of stomach cancer are fatigue, loss of appetite, frequent heartburn, difficulty in swallowing, and abdominal fullness. If you have similar symptoms or are suffering from similar anguish of stomach cancer then Dr.Rudra Acharya is the right name for you. Let us have a detail look at the various aspects of stomach cancer.
What are the risk factors for developing stomach cancer?
The risk of having stomach cancer can be more in cases of medical issues like an infection of the stomach, Intestinal metaplasia, inflammation of the stomach, pernicious anaemia, familial adenomatous polyposis or gastric polyps. The risk also increases when the person has increased consumption of a diet containing excessive salt, smoked foods and low in fruits and vegetables. The person having a bad habit of smoking cigarettes could also be at a higher risk of developing stomach cancer. Stomach cancer can also occur genetically in case any family member previously had this condition.
Importance Of Early Detection
- Considering the overwhelming effects of stomach cancer, early detection and eradication are utmost essential to get trapped yourself into the safer zone.
- Stomach cancer initially starts to develop in the layers of the stomach and usually migrates to other regions over the years.
- Common symptoms occur when cancer starts growing such as stomach pain, difficulty in swallowing, Nausea, and vomiting, weight loss or sometimes blood vomiting.
- We perform some special tests to confirm your stomach cancer diagnosis. Some of these tests are a physical examination and medical history, laboratory tests, Biopsy method, Endoscopy, and Imaging.
- So now if you have been diagnosed with stomach cancer, our surgeon along with the cancer team approaches you with best treatments after considering your age, general state of health, personal preferences into account.
- The treatment options depend on two main factors such as Location of cancer and Spread of cancer. The treatment methods we usually follow are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and immunotherapy.
- Some may see immediate results and benefits after undergoing the treatment while for others the treatment may provoke some side effects.
When treatments are not going to help you out and if you have reached the advanced stage there are still things which you can do to maintain or improve your quality of life.
What if it is left untreated?
If proper treatment is not undergone to lock the inevitable multiplication of your disastrous cancer cells, it causes two major issues such as serious life-threatening complications and drastic stage-wise metastasis.
The most common complications of this cancer are:
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Gastric perforation
- Small Bowel Obstruction
Coming to the stage-wise metastasis, this is the pattern the cancerous cells follow to slowly decay your vital organs.
Stage 1: cancer at this initial stage spreads to the main muscular layer of the stomach wall and to one or two nearby lymph nodes.
Stage 2: At this stage, cancer spread to three to six lymph nodes and to the outer covering of the stomach layer and all set to affect nearby organs.
Stage 3: The cancerous cells jump to nearby organs like spleen, intestine, liver, pancreas, or major blood vessels.
Stage 4: This is the most advanced stage in which cancer starts to attack secondary sites such as brain, lungs, liver or bones which is of more metastatic.
In this way, untreated cancer cells evade your whole body and reduce your chances of survival within a short period of time. If you are so anxious about having this cancer, fix an appointment immediately with Best Oncologist In India and get rid of cancer while it is in initial stage rather than struggling for life in the metastatic stage.
How to diagnose stomach cancer?
- Upper GI endoscopy: An instrument namely endoscope is passed into the throat to reach oesophagus that gives a check to the abnormal areas of stomach, duodenum, or oesophagus.
- Barium swallow: A fluid containing barium (silver-white metallic compound) is made to drink by the person before carrying X-ray. The liquid forms a coating over the oesophagus and stomach making it possible to take an X-ray to diagnose the stage of cancer.
- CT scan: This method is used to get detailed pictures of areas inside the body which are taken from different angles and the pictures are printed on a computer linked to an x-ray machine. CT scan procedure is also named as computerized tomography, computed tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
- Biopsy: Biopsy is done by removing cells or tissues and viewed under a microscope for diagnosing signs of cancer.
- Blood tests: Blood sample are collected and tested for amounts of certain substances released into the blood by organs and tissues in the stomach.
What are the treatments meant for stomach cancer?
- Surgery: Surgery could be done to evict the stomach cancer either by removing the part of the stomach infected by cancer or removing the complete stomach. The type of surgery chosen depends on the growth of the cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy: This method of treating stomach cancer uses medicines to inhibit the growth of the cancer cells which can be done either by blocking their growth or killing the cancerous cells.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation, which are purposely done to kill cancer cells or prevent their growth. Two types of radiation therapy could be conducted either external or internal.
- Chemoradiation: Chemoradiation therapy is a combination treatment including both chemotherapy and radiation therapy which is done to enhance the therapeutic effects of both the treatment.
- Targeted therapy: The use of medicines, or any other medicinal substance to identify and attack the specific cancer cells and does not produce any effect on the normal or undamaged cells.
What is the survival rate of a person with stomach cancer?
General statistics give the survival of stomach cancer stage wise in a five-year survival rate approximation.
Stage 1A: No penetration. The survival rate is more than 70%.
Stage 1B: 1 – 2 nearby lymph nodes or the main muscular layer of the stomach wall is affected, and the survival rate is 57%.
Stage 2A: One or two lymph nodes and the main muscular layer or to 3 – 6 lymph nodes are affected or penetration through the main muscular layer to subserosa. The survival rate is 46%.
Stage 2B: Outer covering of stomach or to main layer muscular layer and 3 – 6 lymph nodes or to 7 or more lymph nodes are affected. The survival rate is 33 %.
Stage 3 Stage 3A: Main muscular layer and 7 or more lymph nodes or subserosal layer and 3 – 6 lymph nodes are affected. Survival rate 20%.
Stage 3B: 7 or more lymph nodes are affected or penetration through serosa into a nearby organ. The survival rate is 14%.
Stage 3C: penetration to serosa and 7 or more lymph nodes affected or nearby organ and 3 or more lymph nodes are affected. The survival rate is 9%
Cancer reaches far away organs, and the survival rate is as low as 4%.
The statistics are not the only predictor. Expert advice from Dr. Rudra Acharya will provide you with a better insight into your cancer and the journey forward.