- Currently in the UK around 7800 people are diagnosed with Stomach cancer every year
- It is more common in men than in women. It’s also more uncommon in younger people and the most affected age range is the over 50’s.
- Treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy are most common.
Like many cancers the exact causes of stomach cancer are still not fully understood. Although it is believed that a combination of certain risk factors can contribute to the development of stomach cancer. Listed below are the main risk factors;
- Age – 95% of stomach cancer cases are over 50 years old
- Gender – Stomach cancer is more prominent in Men than woman
- Helicobacter Pylori (H pylori Infection)
- Diet – High Fat Diets, Pickled Foods and Processed Meats can contribute to the risk factor of developing stomach cancer
- Smoking Tobacco
- Body Weight
- Medical conditions – long Term Acid Reflux
- Family History
Types of Stomach Cancer
The Most common type of stomach cancer is Adenocarcinoma which starts in the glandular cells of the stomach lining. Currently around 95% of cancers in the Uk are this type.
There are other rarer types of cancer which can also affect the stomach. These can include;
- Soft Sarcomas, the commonest being leiomyosarcomas and gastrointestinal stromal tumours
- Lymphomas such as mucosa associated with lymphoid tissue
- Carcinoid Tumours
Stomach Cancer Symptoms
The general symptoms of stomach cancer can include;
- Continued heartburn or indigestion
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
- Weight loss
- Feeling bloated
- Blood present in stools or black stools
- Burping allot
A lot of the symptoms above are quite common in many other cases not just stomach cancer, the majority of people reporting these symptoms to their doctors will not have stomach cancer, but it is always worth having it checked.
Treating Stomach Cancer
There are treatments that are available to treat stomach cancer, again these depend on the stage of the cancer and your general health. Your consultant or doctor will discuss the treatment options with you to find the most appropriate situation.
It is important to have surgery for many stomach cancers. Results have improved recently in surgery success – this is mainly due to cancer being discovered and treated earlier and advancements in surgical methods.
- Surgery to remove part or all of the stomach – This depends on the stage of the cancer; surgery may be all that’s needed to cure it. This can involve removing part of the stomach (partial gastrectomy) or in other cases all of the stomach (total gastrectomy). The operation is dependent on the tumour size and the location of the tumour in the stomach.
- Key Hold Surgery – This surgery consists of making several openings instead of one large cut during surgery. A surgeon is then able to use an instrument called a laparoscope to see and work inside the stomach.
- Surgery to relive a stomach blockage – Occasionally cancer can cause a blockage that stops foods from travelling through the gut. In the event of this happening a surgeon will insert a thin tube called a stent into the area where the blockage is present. Or the surgeon may operate to remove the affected part of the stomach.
The drugs commonly used with chemotherapy to treat stomach cancer are:
- Fluorourcil ( Also referred to as 5FU)
A Combination of these drugs may be given as the ECF regimen. Occasionally a tablet form of the 5FU drug known as capecitabine is used, This combination is then known as the ESX regimen.
A further Combination is known as EOX and this used the drugs , epirubican, oxaliplatin and capecitabine.
Chemotherapy can be used either on its own or with other anti-cancer treatments such as surgery and radiotherapy. It can be used sometimes before surgery to decrease the the size of the tumour, or again after surgery to reduce the risk factor of the cancer returning after surgery. It can also be used even if the cancer is not operable to improve the quality the patients life.
Chemotherapy can be given as an outpatient which means you can go home the same day as its given , or the other option is as an inpatient which means you will stay in hospital for the duration of each treatment.
See our Chemotherapy Page for More information – Read & See More
With advanced stomach cancer Radiotherapy is the most often used treatment for relieving symptoms such as bleeding from the stomach or pain in the bones. The treatment is referred to as palliative treatment.
Further more radiotherapy may be used after surgery if an operation hasn’t been able to remove all the cancer.
For more information on Radiotherapy please see out Radiotherapy Page Read & See More