Stomach cancer is more readily treated when caught early. Unfortunately, by the time stomach cancer causes symptoms, it’s often at an advanced stage and may have spread beyond the stomach. Yet there is encouraging news. You can reduce your risk of stomach cancer by making a few changes in your lifestyle. It is hard to diagnose stomach cancer in its early stages. Indigestion and stomach discomfort can be symptoms of early cancer, but other problems can cause the same symptoms. In advanced cases, there may be blood in your stool, vomiting, unexplained weight loss, jaundice or trouble swallowing.
Stomach cancer is more common in developing nations, while becoming less common in Western countries including Australia. At present, stomach cancer is still the fourth most common cause of death from cancer. There appear to be two types of gastric (stomach) cancer. Cancer of the stomach, or gastric cancer, is a disease in which stomach cells become malignant (cancerous) and grow out of control, forming a tumor. Almost all stomach cancers (95%) start in the glandular tissue that lines the stomach. The tumor may spread along the stomach wall or may grow directly through the wall and shed cells into the bloodstream or lymphatic system. Once beyond the stomach, cancer can spread to other organs.
Cells from malignant tumors can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Cancer cells spread by breaking away from the original tumor and entering the bloodstream or the lymphatic system. The cells invade other organs and form new tumors that damage these organs. The spread of cancer is called metastasis. There are about 9,000 new cases of stomach cancer diagnosed every year and it’s more common in men, particularly in late middle age. Stomoch cancer is on the decrease and is now about half as common as it was 30 years ago.
Causes of Stomach Cancer
Tobacco and alcohol use. Tobacco use can irritate the stomach lining, which may help explain why smokers have twice the rate of stomach cancer that nonsmokers do. Alcohol has been associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer, but the link between the two isn’t clear.
Type A blood: Blood type groups refer to certain substances that are normally present on the surface of red blood cells and some other types of cells. These groups are important in matching blood for transfusions. For unknown reasons, people with type A blood have a higher risk of getting stomach cancer.
Cancer can either be malignant or benign. Benign cancer is curable, meaning that there is some medical way of being able to provide a curing solution to the cancer-hit part of the body. On the other hand, malignant cancer is a lot more serious since this means that cancer has developed into something complicated where medical resources have close to lesser chances of medicinal resolution.
People who have pernicious anaemia (an autoimmune condition where the lining of the stomach becomes thin, less acid is produced and anaemia develops due to lack of vitamin B12), atrophic gastritis, or a hereditary condition of growths in the stomach are at a higher risk of developing this type of cancer.
A diet high in salt and nitrates and low in vitamins A and C increases the risk for stomach cancer. Other dietary risk factors include food preparation (e.g., preserving food by smoking, salt-curing, pickling, or drying) and environment (e.g., lack of refrigeration, poor drinking water). A diet high in raw fruits and vegetables, citrus fruits, and fiber may lower the risk for stomach cancer.
Stomach polyps may become cancerous (malignant) and are thus removed. Adenocarcinoma of the stomach is particularly likely to develop if the polyps consist of glandular cells, if the polyps are larger than ¾ inch (2 centimeters), or if several polyps exist.
Exposure to certain dusts, molds, fumes, and other environmental agents at home or in the workplace has been linked to a higher than average risk of stomach cancer.Some experts believe that smoking might increase stomach cancer risk.