also called gastric cancer, refers to a malignant tumor which has developed
mostly in the cells forming the tissue of the stomach wall. This is a cancer that progresses slowly
and rarely affects people the age of 50. But the prognosis is not good. Please see stomach cancer prognosis
for more information.
Stomach cancer is a common disease
worldwide. Dietary factors and unhealthy lifestyle
seem to play an important role in its occurrence. For instance, the tumor is more prevalent in individuals
who consume regularly or in grand quantity salted or smoked fish and/or meat, very low fruits and vegetables.
In addition, bacterial infection may promote the formation of nitrosamines which are carcinogenic factors. In
the other hand, increase in the consumption of fiber rich foods, mainly non-GMO cruciferous vegetables and
fresh fruits have a protective role against the development of the tumor.
treatment does not guarantee a good prognosis. But
early diagnosis associated with change of bad habits to healthy lifestyle increase survival or healing
possibility. Therefore, it is wise for an individual to contact a health care provider as soon as possible if
he experiences any form of stomach cancer
In broad terms, there are 2 types of gastric cancers:
• Adenocarcinomas - these
cancers develop from epithelial cells, the thin layer of cells lining the stomach, which is in direct contact
with the bolus;
Sarcomas – this group of represents
gastric tumors that develop from the cells forming the wall of the stomach.
About 90% of gastric tumors are
adenocarcinomas. Although slow to grow, they can possibly extend to other layers of the stomach wall, lymph
nodes and other parts of the body (liver, pancreas, colon, lungs) to form other malignant tumors. In this
case, the cancer becomes metastatic, making survival or healing chance slim.
Other forms of stomach cancer are much rare, and
represent 5 to 15% of gastric cancers. Some of them include gastric lymphoma, which affects the lymph system;
sarcoma, which affects muscle tissue; gastrointestinal stromal tumor, born in organ tissues that support the
The stomach is
a J-shaped organ of the digestive system
located between the esophagus and
the small intestine in the upper abdominal area. It is a muscular pocket large
enough to receive foods through the
extension of the esophagus, thanks to a muscular valve called lower esophageal sphincter,
and allow it to go to the small
The foods we eat
accumulate in the stomach after being chewed and swallowed. An essential phase of the digestive
process takes place in there. The movements of the walls induced by
their contractions, along with secretion of acid and enzymes, allow
churning of the contents
of the stomach into digestible consistency
by the intestines.
The stomach walls are covered with a
mucous membrane called gastric mucosa or epithelium which plays many important functions. The mucosa contains
glands that secrete gastric juices, acidic chemicals that participate in the breakdown of
food. The epithelium also produces mucus that
protects the stomach lining from pathogenic attacks or aggressions of the gastric juice.
The fact about 90% of stomach cancers
occur in gastric mucosa (epithelium), the malignant tumor also affects or damages the gastric mucosal
glands. A gastric cancer can have various
aspects. In its classic form, however, it has a
burgeoning aspect, with a small hollow in the middle. More rarely, it can take a particular
form, very diffuse, which invades and stiffens the mucosa.
The development of stomach cancer is
first local and slow. Without treatment, as the disease
progresses, malignant cells can then infiltrate deeply into the mucosa. In addition, they can spread to the
peritoneum, the serous membrane that covers the abdominal organs (peritoneal carcinoma), and lymph
nodes. Although slow growing, gastric cancer
can then metastasize to other organs: liver, pancreas, colon, lungs. In this case, the
treatment is more drastic, the prognosis is,
sadly, poor. Please see stomach cancer prognosis for more information.
Once stomach cancer is diagnosed,
surgical removal of the stomach (gastrectomy) is almost inevitable; although the entire stomach is not always
removed. It is sometimes possible to preserve
part of the stomach, depending on the stage or the severity of the tumor. That is, the type of surgical
treatment performed depends on the volume of the tumor and its location. When only part of the stomach is removed, the surgical procedure is called partial