Gastric Cancer

Gastric Cancer

Overview

Often referred to as Stomach Cancer, in this condition cancerous cells are generated in the mucous producing cells of the stomach’s inner lining. Stomach Adenocarcinoma, Lymphoma, Carcinoid Cancer, Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumour are the different types of gastric cancers; the most common being Stomach Adenocarcinoma.

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of Gastric Cancer include sudden weight loss, difficulty while swallowing, bloated feeling after consuming food, continual heartburn, difficulty while swallowing, acid reflux, frequent abdominal pain and nausea.

Causes and risk factors

The reasons behind the continuous modification of the stomach DNA cells which accumulate to form a tumour are not yet known. In certain cases, the cells spread or metastasize increasing the risk factor. Other risk factors include a family history of cancer, intake of excessive salt, Helicobacter pylori infection and low intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Complications

Complications could arise if the cancer spreads to the liver. It may lead to jaundice, obstructed gastric outlet and anaemia.

Diagnosis

The procedures to diagnose Gastric Cancer and assess the progression involve several tests including upper endoscopy, biopsy, CT scan and barium swallow. Tests to evaluate the stage of the cancer include blood tests to measure the organ function, Positron Emission Tomography, endoscopic ultrasound and laparoscopic exploratory surgery.

Surgery

Depending on the stage of cancer, surgical procedures may be adopted. For minor and early-stage tumours, endoscopic mucosal resection and endoscopic submucosal resection are the advised surgical treatments. If the cancer is in the part of the stomach closest to the small intestines, then Subtotal Gastrectomy is done where the affected portion is surgically removed. If the body of the stomach is affected then Total Gastrectomy is performed in which the stomach is removed and the oesophagus is connected to the small intestines.

Prevention

The ways to mitigate the risk of gastric cancer are unclear. But certain precautionary methods can be adopted like ensuring healthy body weight, healthy dietary intake especially of citrus fruits, zero intakes of alcohol, quitting smoking and genetic testing in cases of hereditary gastric cancer syndrome.

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