Stomach cancer

Cancer of the stomach.  Photo from www.sciencephoto.com

Cancer stomach — a malignant tumor growing from the epithelial cells of the mucous (inside) of the stomach. Swelling can occur in various parts of the stomach: the top, where it connects with the esophagus, in the main part (body) of the stomach or in the bottom where stomach connected to the intestines.

The risk of stomach cancer is increased in both men and women after 50 years, but in the stronger sex, the probability is two times higher. As for the geographical distribution of gastric cancer — a disease in Russia is second in frequency of occurrence of malignant tumors. A hundred thousand healthy people for 36 patients. Worse things are in Japan (75 patients), as well as Scandinavia, Chile, Brazil and Colombia (40-50 patients).

But there is good news. According to medical statistics, over the past thirty years there has been a slow but steady decline in the incidence of gastric cancer. Particularly worth to be glad for the Americans, they have cancer of the stomach is found today is surprisingly rare (5 cases per 100,000 population).

Causes

It is known that normal cells are transformed into cancer if it is the chromosomes of a particular mutation (defect). But what exactly causes this mutation in gastric cancer? Despite all the medical advances in the study of cancer, the cause of malignant transformation of cells of the stomach still remains unknown. At the moment, only isolated group of risk factors that are under unfavorable circumstances it may provoke serious illness.

Risk factors for gastric cancer:

  • Genetic predisposition — ifsomeone family revealed gastric cancer, then all the other ones (blood) relatives likely to develop increased by 20%;
  • feeding habits — overreliance smoked, spicy, salty, fried (refried), and canned food, long stored foods containing nitrates, markedly increases the risk of cancer of the stomach;
  • long-existing diseases of the stomach: gastritis (low acidity), ulcers and polyps;
  • gastric surgery increases the risk of stomach cancer by 2.5 times;
  • the presence of bacteria in the stomach of Helicobacter pylori: in 1994, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the link between Helicobacter Pylori and gastric cancer, and had brought the bacteria into the category of carcinogens first class;
  • work with asbestos and nickel;
  • deficiency of vitamins B12 and C;
  • primary and secondary (e.g., AIDS), immunodeficiency states;
  • 20 times more cancer stomach occurs in patients with pernicious (malignant) anemia;
  • certain viruses, in particular, the virus Epstein-Barr virus;
  • Alcoholism and smoking.

What's going on?

It is now proven that a healthy stomach cancer is almost there. It is preceded by a so-called pre-cancerous condition: change the properties of the cells lining stomach. Most often this occurs in chronic gastritis with low acidity, ulcers and polyps in the stomach.

An average of precancer to cancer goes from 10 to 20 years. At the initial stage of the cancer in the stomach appear small tumor smaller than 2 cm, it increases gradually, increasing depth (sprouting all layers of the stomach wall) and breadth (spreading over the surface of the stomach). Stomach tumor may disrupt digestion. If it is at the border12 duodenal intestine (near the pylorus), it will prevent the passage of food into the intestine. Located near the esophagus, will prevent the ingress of foodstomach. As a result, a person begins to lose weight dramatically. Sprouting the stomach wall, tumor goes to other organs: the colon and pancreas.

Gastric cancer prone to different appearance of a large number of early metastasis: some cancer cells separated from the original tumor and distributed in the body (e.g., along with blood and lymph), forming new tumor sites (metastasis). In gastric cancer metastasis mostly affect the lymph nodes and liver. In addition, the ovaries may be affected, adipose tissue, peritoneum, stomach, bones, lungs, etc. In the end, disrupted all the damaged organs, which ultimately leads to death.

What are the symptoms?

Small size of the tumor often exist without symptoms. Only in a few cases, patients may experience:

  • loss of appetite;
  • change in eating habits, for example, they feel an aversion to meat, fish, etc etc.;
  • temperature rise (often 37-38 degrees);
  • anemia (low hemoglobin).

With the growth of the tumor there are new signs:

  • a feeling of heaviness in the stomach after eating, nausea and vomiting, rapid saturation;
  • violation of the stool (diarrhea, constipation);
  • pain in the upper abdomen, girdle pains, extending to the back (in the propagation of the tumor in the pancreas);
  • enlargement of the abdomen, fluid accumulation in the abdomen (ascites);
  • weight loss;
  • the destruction of tumor blood vessels may develop gastrointestinal bleeding.

Diagnostics

The earlier the diagnosis, the more successful the treatment of the disease. At the slightest suspicion of cancer of the stomach, and in general for any digestive problems you should call for helpGastroenterologist.

The main method of investigation of the stomach — a gastroscopy (endoscopy). During gastroscopy physician assesses the state of the gastric mucosa and perform a biopsy of the most suspicious areas. Histological examination of the material obtained by biopsy, and answers the question: benign tumor or malignant?

As additional methods are used:

  • X-ray examination of digestive tract;
  • computed tomography;
  • Ultrasonography of the abdomen, etc etc.;
  • general and biochemical blood test can detect anemia and impaired protein metabolism in the body of the patient.

Treatment

The success of treatment of cancer of the stomach depends on the size and extent of the tumor to adjacent organs and tissues, as well as metastases.

The main method of treatment — surgery is to remove the tumor along with the stomach (gastrectomy) or part thereof. In some cases, the spleen is removed in addition to the stomach, the liver or intestines. Following operations can be assigned to chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Prophylaxis

It is important for all patients with atrophic gastritis, gastric ulcer, gastric polyps, as well as in patients who have relatives suffering from stomach cancer each year undergo gastroscopy.

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