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Stomach Cancer

Symptoms, risk factors and treatment of stomach cancer

Stomach cancer is not a common form of cancer, and is actually becoming rarer in the United States. This form of cancer typically starts in the mucus-protruding cells in the lining of the stomach, and then moves into the deeper lining of the stomach walls.

Often, cancer of the stomach moves into other areas, such as the lungs, lymph nodes, liver and esophagus.

Stomach Cancer Symptoms

It can take a while before symptoms of stomach cancer show up, but the symptoms typically include difficulty swallowing, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, vomiting blood or blood in the stool and feeling bloated after eating very little.

Once these symptoms are reported, a doctor will do a physical exam to check the abdominal area for swelling, fluid and other abnormalities, and will also check for swollen lymph nodes. Next, an endoscopy will be performed. This involves passing a thin lighted tube down the throat and into the stomach. During the endoscopy, a sample of tissue will be removed so a biopsy can be performed to determine if a stomach cancer prognosis is warranted.

Stomach Cancer Risk Factors

There's no known cause of stomach cancer, but some of the risk factors associated with the condition include:

  • Other stomach issues. People who have conditions that cause prolonged inflammation to the stomach or who have had a portion of their stomach removed are at higher risk of developing stomach cancer.
  • Smoking. Heavy smokers are considered to be more at risk for stomach cancer than none smokers.
  • Family history. The risk of developing stomach cancer rises with the number of close relatives in your family who have been diagnosed.
  • Obesity, lack of activity and poor diet. It's believed that a diet high in salted, smoked and pickled foods are at greater risk for stomach cancer, as are those who don't get enough exercise or who are obese.

Stomach Cancer Treatment

Stomach cancer treatment will be determined by the size of the tumor, its location, how advanced the disease is and the patient's overall health. Typically, treatment will include surgery to remove the affected tissue, followed with chemotherapy and / or radiation. In some cases, chemotherapy and radiation may be used in place of surgery.

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