Gastric cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lining of the stomach. Age, diet, and stomach disease can affect the risk of developing gastric cancer. Symptoms of gastric cancer include indigestion and stomach discomfort or pain. There is much cause for hope if gastric cancer is found early, however the outlook is poor if discovered at an advanced stage.
The stomach is part of the digestive system. It lies just under the lungs. The top of the stomach is joined to the bottom of the oesophagus (foodpipe) and the other end is joined to the bowel.
Symptoms of Gastric Cancer
There are many possible symptoms of Gastric Cancer, but they might be hard to spot.
They can affect your digestion, such as:
- heartburn or acid reflux
- having problems swallowing (dysphagia)
- feeling or being sick
- symptoms of indigestion, such as burping a lot
- feeling full very quickly when eating
Other symptoms include:
- loss of appetite or losing weight without trying to
- a lump at the top of your tummy
- pain at the top of your tummy
- feeling tired or having no energy
Who is more likely to get stomach cancer
Anyone can get stomach cancer. It’s not always clear what causes it.
You might be more likely to get it if you:
- are over the age of 50
- are a man
- have a long-term infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) – read more about the link between H. pylori and stomach cancer on the Cancer Research UK website
- have certain stomach conditions, such as long-term, severe acid reflux, gastritis or a condition called pernicious anaemia, which affects your immune system
- have a brother, sister or parent who had stomach cancer
Many stomach cancers are also linked to lifestyle.
How to reduce your risk of getting stomach cancer
You cannot always prevent stomach cancer. But making healthy changes can lower your chances of getting it.
Treatment for stomach cancer
Stomach cancer is often treatable, but it can be difficult to treat.
The treatment will depend on:
- the type and size of the stomach cancer you have
- where it is
- if it has spread
- your general health
It usually includes surgery and chemotherapy. It may also include radiotherapy, and treatment with targeted medicines.
The specialist care team looking after you will:
- explain the treatments, benefits and side effects
- work with you to create a treatment plan that is best for you
- help you manage any side effects, including changes to your diet
- help and support you during you recover
This information is from NHS – Symptoms of stomach cancer – NHS (www.nhs.uk)