Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is a malignant growth that originates in the lining of the stomach. This disease typically progresses slowly over many years, often starting with stomach lining inflammation or precancerous changes.
Epidemiology and Statistics on Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer, or gastric cancer, ranks as the fifth most prevalent cancer globally. Epidemiology reveals regional variations, with East Asia experiencing higher rates. Statistical research associates Helicobacter pylori infection and dietary factors with its aetiology. If you want to know more, you may visit https://oncocare.sg/en/stomach-cancer-treatment-and-diagnosis/.
Understanding the Human Stomach and Its Functions
Anatomy of the Stomach
The stomach, a muscular organ located on the left side of the upper abdomen, plays a crucial role in digestion. It receives food from the oesophagus, secretes acid and enzymes that digest food, and then propels food to the small intestine.
Important Functions of the Stomach
The stomach’s major functions encompass digestion, nutrient absorption and protection against pathogens. It secretes enzymes to break down food, absorbs essential nutrients, and employs gastric acid to kill harmful bacteria to maintain overall health.
Risk Factors of Stomach Cancer
Genetic factors significantly influence our physical attributes, health status, behaviour, and development. They are hereditary traits passed from parents to offspring, determining predisposition to certain diseases and individual characteristics.
Lifestyle factors significantly shape our health and well-being. They include diet and nutrition, physical activity, alcohol consumption, smoking, and stress management. These elements can either enhance our health or lead to life-threatening diseases.
Other Medical Conditions
Other medical conditions refer to a broad range of noncommunicable diseases and physical disorders. These can include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, respiratory diseases, mental health conditions, and various chronic illnesses that require ongoing medical care.
Different Types of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer comes in various forms, including Adenocarcinoma, Lymphoma, Gastrointestinal stromal tumours, and Carcinoid tumours. They each affect different types of cells in the stomach, leading to distinct symptoms and requiring specific treatment approaches.
Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that starts in the mucus-producing glandular cells of your body. Most commonly found in the lungs, breasts, prostate and colon, it often presents symptomatically. Treatment typically involves radiation, chemotherapy, or surgical intervention.
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GISTs)
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GISTs) are rare cancers affecting the digestive tract or nearby structures within the abdomen. They originate from specialized cells in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract, causing various symptoms depending on their size and location.
Lymphoma, Carcinoid Tumors, and Others
Lymphoma is a cancer affecting the lymphatic system. Carcinoid tumours develop in hormone-producing cells of the body’s neuroendocrine system. Other cancers vary in origin, development, and treatment strategies.
Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer symptoms may include persistent stomach pain, difficulty swallowing, persistent indigestion, unexplained weight loss, continuous vomiting, and fatigue. Individuals should seek medical attention upon experiencing these signs to rule out stomach cancer.
Early Stage Symptoms
Early-stage symptoms often serve as premonitory signs of health issues. These initial indicators may include fatigue, fever, headaches or unexplained pain. It’s crucial to seek professional help when such symptoms persist, as they may manifest numerous undiagnosed diseases.
Advanced Stage Symptoms
Advanced-stage symptoms refer to the severe manifestations of an illness when left untreated or unmanaged. These symptoms may include debilitating pain, loss of bodily functions, and cognitive impairment, and can drastically impair a person’s quality of life.
Diagnosis of Stomach Cancer
A clinical examination involves a healthcare professional assessing a patient’s health condition through observation and diagnostic tests. It can include physical examinations, lab tests, and medical histories. This process aids in understanding symptoms and formulating effective treatment plans.
Laboratory tests are fundamental diagnostic tools used in healthcare. They involve analyzing blood, urine, or tissue samples to detect diseases or monitor treatment effectiveness. Highly qualified professionals ensure accurate and reliable results for proper patient care.
Imaging and Endoscopic Techniques
Imaging and endoscopic techniques are essential in modern medicine, allowing doctors to visualize internal body structures. Techniques like MRIs, CT scans, ultrasound, and endoscopy provide non-invasive diagnosis, aiding in efficient and accurate treatments.
Treatment Options for Stomach Cancer
Surgery, a significant medical procedure, involves altering or repairing parts of the body, often through incision. It requires expertise in precision and biological knowledge and can be invasive or minimally invasive, depending on the need.
Chemotherapy, a prominent cancer treatment, involves utilizing potent drugs to eradicate cancerous cells. Though effective, it introduces severe side effects, ranging from nausea to hair loss. Its aggressive nature targets both cancerous and healthy cells.
Radiation therapy is a potent medical treatment used to kill cancer cells. It uses high-energy particles or waves, such as X-rays or gamma rays, targeting tumours while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.
Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy
Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy are powerful cancer treatment methods. Targeted therapy uses drugs that specifically target cancer cells, minimizing damage to healthy cells. Immunotherapy boosts the body’s natural defences to fight cancer, improving the immune system’s functionality.