Gastric Cancer

Emma Culleton


  • Several different types of cancer can occur in the stomach. The most common type is called adenocarcinoma, which is found in the lining of the stomach
  • It is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in the world
  • In the United States, stomach cancer is currently the 14th most common cancer.
  • Stomach cancer rates have declined dramatically over the past half century due to improvements in sanitation, refrigeration, antibiotics, and diet
  • It is most common in Japan, Chile, and Iceland


Stage 0- abnormal cells are found in the inside lining of the mucosa (the innermost layer) of the stomach wall. These abnormal cells may become cancerous.

Stage II- cancer has spread to 2 or more lymph nodes. It has also spread to the subserosa, submucosa, and/or the serosa (outermost layer of the stomach)

Stage IIIA- Cancer has spread to the subserosa and/or serosa. Cancer is present in 7 or more lymph nodes.

Stage IIIB- Cancer has spread to nearby organs (spleen, colon, pancreas, liver, kidneys) and is in 1-2 lymph nodes near the tumor.

Satge IIIC- cancer has spread to organs (spleen, colon, pancreas, liver, kidneys) and is in 3 or more lymph nodes.

Stage IV- cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

  • Abdominal fullness or pain
  • Dark stools
  • Difficulty swallowing, which becomes worse over time
  • Excessive belching
  • General decline in health
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting, which may contain blood
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Weight loss

  • Diagnosis is often delayed because symptoms don’t show until the later stages of cancer.
  • In addition, patients commonly mistake the symptoms of gastric cancer with gastrointestinal disorders (bloating, gas, heartburn, and a sense of fullness).
  • A complete blood count (to check for anemia)
  • An Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) with biopsy to examine the stomach tissue
  • A Stool Test (to check for blood in the stools)

  • Mass screening programs have been successful at detecting disease in the early stages in Japan, where the risk is very high. The value of screening in the United States and other countries with lower rates of gastric cancer has not been confirmed.

  • A Gastrectomy is the only treatment that can cure the condition
  • Radiation and chemotherapy may also help after surgery
  • Tumors in the lower stomach are cured more often than those in the higher stomach
  • When the tumor has spread outside the stomach, a cure is not possible and the goal of treatment is to improve symptoms and quality of life.

Risk Factors:
  • Have a family history of gastric cancer
  • Had a polyp larger than 2 centimeters in your stomach
  • Have inflammation and swelling of the stomach (chronic atrophic gastritis)
  • Have pernicious anemia
  • Smoke

Risk Reduction:
  • Don't smoke
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and limited salt intake
  • Take a medication to treat reflux disease, if you have it

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