Stomach Cancer: Types, Symptoms, Information
Synopsis: Information on stomach cancer also known as gastric cancer and carcinoid tumors. Stomach cancer occurs in the stomach, the muscular sac located in the upper middle of your abdomen, just below your ribs. Cancer may spread from the stomach to other parts of the body, particularly the liver, lungs, bones, lining of the abdomen, and lymph nodes. There are five layers in the stomach wall, and it is essential to know and understand these layers because as cancer in the wall of the stomach grows deeper into them, the prognosis deteriorates.
Stomach cancer is also called gastric cancer and starts in the stomach. Once food has been chewed and swallowed, it enters the esophagus, a tube that carries food through the neck and chest to the stomach. The esophagus connects to the stomach right beneath your diaphragm, a muscle used to breathe underneath your lungs.
The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) has included Malignant Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor and Stomach Cancer - with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent as Compassionate Allowances to expedite a disability claim.
The stomach is somewhat like a sack and holds food; it also starts to digest it by secreting gastric juice. Food and gastric juices are mixed in the stomach and then emptied into the first part of the duodenum, the small intestine.
Sometimes people use the word 'stomach' to mean the entire body area between the chest and the pelvis. The medical term for this body area is the 'abdomen.' For example, sometimes people experiencing pain in their abdomen say they have a 'stomach ache,' when the pain could be coming from their appendix, small intestine, colon, or some other organs in their abdomen. Doctors talk about these kinds of pain as, 'abdominal pain.'
This is important because the stomach is one of several organs in the abdomen, and cancer might start in any of these organs. It is essential not to confuse Stomach cancer with colon cancer, for example, small intestine or liver cancer, because these forms of cancer have different symptoms. These forms of cancer also have different outlooks and different treatments.
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Parts of the Stomach
The human stomach has five parts:
- The Cardia: The Cardia is the upper portion of the stomach, closest to the esophagus.
- The Fundus: The Fundus is located next to the Cardia. Some cells in these areas of the stomach make acid and pepsin, a digestive enzyme; these are the parts of gastric juice that helps to digest food.
- The Antrum: The Antrum is the lower portion, closest to the intestine, where food is mixed with gastric juices.
- The Pylorus: The Pylorus acts functions as a valve, controlling the emptying of the stomach's contents into the small intestine.
- The Body, or Corpus: The Body, or Corpus, is the area between the upper and lower parts of the stomach.
The first three parts of the stomach; the Cardia, Fundus, and Body, are referred to as the 'Proximal Stomach.'
The lower two parts; the Antrum and the Pylorus, are referred to as the 'Distal Stomach.'
two curves in the stomach form the upper and lower borders. These curves are referred to as the 'Lesser Curve" and 'Greater Curve.' There are other organs near the stomach; they include the liver, colon, small intestine, spleen, and pancreas.
There are five layers in the stomach wall, and it is important to know and understand these layers because as cancer in the wall of the stomach grows deeper into them, the prognosis deteriorates.
- The innermost layer is the mucosa; this is where stomach acid and digestive enzymes are made, and most forms of stomach cancers begin.
- Under the mucosa is a supporting layer called the submucosa. The submucosa is surrounded by a layer of muscle called the 'muscular,' which moves and mixes the stomach's contents.
- The outermost two layers, called the 'subserosa' and the 'serosa,' perform as wrapping layers for the stomach.
Development of Stomach Cancer
Cancers that start in different sections of the stomach might cause different symptoms; they also usually have different outcomes. Treatment options can also be affected by the location of cancer.
Stomach cancers typically develop slowly and over many years. Pre-cancerous changes often occur in the stomach lining before true cancer develops. Many times the early changes do not cause any symptoms and go undetected.
There are different ways that stomach cancers can spread. One way they can grow is through the stomach wall and then invade nearby organs. They may also spread to lymph vessels and nearby lymph nodes, which are bean-sized structures near many body structures that help fight infections. One of the features of the stomach is a pervasive network of lymph vessels and nodes. The outlook for survival decreases significantly if cancer spreads to the lymph nodes. As stomach cancer advances, it has the potential to travel through the bloodstream and spread, or "metastasize,' to organs such as the lungs, liver, and bones.
Types of Stomach Cancer
Approximately 90% to 95% of cancerous stomach tumors are Adenocarcinomas. The term 'stomach cancer' nearly always refers to Adenocarcinoma. This form of cancer develops from the cells in the stomach's innermost lining, or 'Mucosa.'
Some other, less common tumors may be found in the stomach, such as:
Lymphomas are cancers of the immune system tissue and are sometimes found in the stomach wall, accounting for about 4% of all stomach cancers. The prognosis and treatment of a Lymphoma depend on whether it is aggressive or is a slow-growing lymphoma.
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors are rare and seem to start in cells in the stomach wall called 'interstitial cells of Cajal.' Some of these tumors are non-cancerous or benign; others are cancerous. About 60% to 70% of these tumors occur in the stomach, but they can be found anywhere in the digestive tract.
Carcinoid Tumors start in hormone-making cells in the stomach, and most do not spread to other organs. Approximately 3% of all stomach cancers are carcinoid tumors.
Stomach Cancer Symptoms
Early symptoms may include:
- Upper abdominal pain
- Nausea and loss of appetite
Later signs and symptoms may include:
- Weight loss
- Yellow skin
- Blood in the stool
- Difficulty swallowing
Stomach Cancer Facts and Statistics
- Stomach cancer occurs most commonly in East Asia and Eastern Europe and twice as often in males as in females.
- Globally, stomach cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer and the third leading cause of death from cancer, making up 7% of cases and 9% of deaths. In 2012, it occurred in 950,000 people and caused 723,000 deaths.
The American Cancer Society's estimates for stomach cancer in the United States for 2015 are:
- About 10,720 people will die from this type of cancer (6,500 men and 4,220 women)
- About 6 of every ten people diagnosed with stomach cancer yearly are 65 or older.
- The average risk that a person will develop stomach cancer in their lifetime is about 1 in 111.
- About 24,590 cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed (15,540 in men and 9,050 in women)
- This risk is higher in men than in women and can also be affected by several other factors.
- Stomach cancer mostly affects older people. The average age of people when they are diagnosed is 69.
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Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and/or carers. See our homepage for informative reviews, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can connect with us on social media such as X.com and our Facebook page.
Disabled World provides general information only. The materials presented are never meant to substitute for qualified professional medical care, nor should they be construed as such. Funding is derived from advertisements or referral programs. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.