Stomach cancer is characterized by a growth of cancerous cells within the lining of the stomach. Also called gastric cancer, this type of cancer is difficult to diagnose because most people typically don’t show symptoms in the earlier stages.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates there’ll be approximately 28,000 new cases of stomach cancer in 2017. The NCI also estimates that stomach cancer is 1.7 percent of new cancer cases in the India.
While stomach cancer is relatively rare compared to other types of cancer, one of the biggest dangers of this disease is the difficulty of diagnosing it. Since stomach cancer usually doesn’t cause any early symptoms, it often goes undiagnosed until after it spreads to other parts of the body. This makes it more difficult to treat.
Though stomach cancer can be hard to diagnose and treat, it’s important to get the knowledge you need to beat the disease.
What causes stomach cancer?
Your stomach (along with the esophagus) is just one part of the upper section of your digestive tract. Your stomach is responsible for digesting food and then moving the nutrients along to the rest of your digestive organs, namely the small and large intestines.
Stomach cancer occurs when normally healthy cells within the upper digestive system become cancerous and grow out of control, forming a tumor. This process happens slowly. Stomach cancer tends to develop over many years.
Your chances of recovery are better if the diagnosis is made in the early stages. According to the NCI, around 30 percent of all people with stomach cancer survive at least five years after being diagnosed.
The majority of these survivors have a localized diagnosis. This means that the stomach was the original source of the cancer. When the origin is unknown, it can be difficult to diagnose and stage the cancer. This makes the cancer harder to treat.
It’s also more difficult to treat stomach cancer once it reaches the later stages. If your cancer is more advanced, you may want to consider participating in a clinical trial.
Clinical trials help determine whether a new medical procedure, device, or other treatment is effective for treating certain diseases and conditions. You can see if there are any clinical trials of treatments for stomach cancer on the NCI website.
The website also has resources to help you and your loved ones cope with a stomach cancer diagnosis and its subsequent treatment.