Stomach is in the left side of the upper abdomen which receives food from the esophagus and secretes acids and enzymes to help in digesting the food. Growth of cancerous cells forming and outnumbering the healthy mucus producing cells in the stomach lining causes the gastric cancer, commonly known as stomach cancer. It is relatively less common cancer as compared to the other types of cancer and is also difficult to diagnose as stomach cancer usually don’t show early signs of it until it spreads by breaking away from the original tumor to other nearby organs of the body like liver, pancreas, esophagus or intestine. This is called metastasis. Mostly gastric cancers are adenocarcinomas where cancer begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids. Gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and lymphomas are some other types of gastric cancers.
There is no particular cause of stomach cancer but one of the most common bacteria Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori which infects the inner lining (the mucosa) of the stomach and causes stomach inflammation and peptic ulcers that increases the risk of stomach cancer. Other causes can be smoking, family history of stomach cancer, poor diet, lack of exercise, overweight, excessive salt intake, lymphoma (a group of blood cancers), malignant tumors in other parts of the digestive system, polyps in the stomach (abnormal growths of tissue that forms on the lining of the stomach).
Some common signs and symptoms of the stomach cancer may include indigestion, fatigue, bloating, persistent nausea/vomiting, weight loss, stomach ache, heartburn, bloody stools, difficulty swallowing, feeling satiated after eating small amount of food.
Once diagnosed properly through upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, biopsy, imaging tests like CT scans and X-rays can be treated by surgery for removing the malignant tumor from the stomach and some other treatments like radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, immunotherapy according to the stage and seriousness of the cancer as suggested by the doctor.