Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer, or gastric cancer, refers to cancer arising from any part of the stomach. Stomach cancer is often either asymptomatic (producing no noticeable symptoms) or it may cause only nonspecific symptoms (symptoms which are not specific to just stomach cancer, but also to other related or unrelated disorders) in its early stages. By the time symptoms occur, the cancer has often reached an advanced stage (see below) and may have also metastasized (spread to other, perhaps distant, parts of the body), which is one of the main reasons for its relatively poor prognosis.

Stomach cancer can cause the following signs and symptoms: Indigestion or a burning sensation (heartburn), loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort or irritation, weakness and fatigue, bloating of the stomach (usually after meals), abdominal pain in the upper abdomen nausea and occasional vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, weight loss, bleeding (vomiting blood or having blood in the stool) which will appear as black leading to anemia and dysphagia. These can be symptoms of other problems such as a stomach virus, gastric ulcer or tropical sprue.

To find the cause of symptoms, the doctor asks about the patient's medical history, does a physical exam, and may order laboratory studies. The patient may also have a gastroscopic exam (this involves insertion of a fiber optic camera into the stomach to visualize it), upper GI series (may be called barium roentgenogram) or a Computed tomography/CT scanning of the abdomen which may reveal gastric cancer.

As with any cancer, treatment is adapted to fit each person's individual needs and depends on the size, location, and extent of the tumor, the stage of the disease, and general health. Cancer of the stomach is difficult to cure unless it is found in an early stage (before it has begun to spread). Unfortunately, because early stomach cancer causes few symptoms, the disease is usually advanced when the diagnosis is made. Treatment for stomach cancer may include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy.

Links for Stomach Cancer: