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Stomach Cancer

  • What is Stomach Cancer?

    Stomach cancer (also called gastric cancer) is an abnormal growth of tissue in the stomach. The cancer usually starts in the cells lining the inside of the stomach. The cancer can form a tumour or ulcer within the stomach or it can spread through the wall of the stomach.

  • People with stomach cancer often have infection with H. pylori (a bacterium), but not everyone who has this infection in their stomach will develop stomach cancer. Stomach cancer is more common in East Asia than in Western countries.

    You may be at risk if you:

    • Are older than 50 years
    • Eat a lot of smoked foods, salted fish and meat, and pickled foods – eating fruits and vegetables high in vitamins A and C lowers the risk of stomach cancer
    • Have a family member with stomach cancer
    • Have a type of anaemia that means you cannot absorb enough vitamin B12 (pernicious anaemia)
    • Have long-term swelling of the stomach (chronic gastritis)
    • Smoke tobacco
  • Early stomach cancer often does not cause symptoms. As the cancer grows, common symptoms may include:

    • Chronic abdominal pain
    • Loss of appetite
    • Weight loss with no known cause

    Other health problems can cause stomach pain (dyspepsia), including acid reflux or gastritis. Less common symptoms of stomach cancer include:

    • Anaemia
    • Passing black stools, which is a sign of bleeding
    • Vomiting
  • Treatment for stomach cancer includes: 

    • Surgery to remove part or all your stomach, or to reduce complications from the tumour if it is at a late stage
    • Chemotherapy, sometimes given with radiation therapy after surgery, or to lessen symptoms if you cannot have surgery
    • Radiation therapy (high-energy X-rays), sometimes given with chemotherapy, to kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery
    • Targeted therapy to block the growth and spread of cancer cells

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    There are 25 SpecialistsView All