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A study conducted by World Health Organization across the globe revealed that approximately 723,000 cancer-related deaths annually, are caused due to stomach cancer. Stomach or gastric cancer is the growth of abnormal cells that form a mass in any part of the stomach. The most common stomach cancer, which has been reported around 90-95% of the total cases, affects the mucosa or the most superficial lining inside the stomach. This type of stomach cancer is referred to as adenocarcinoma.
Causes of Stomach Cancer
Any type of cancer occurs due to a change in the DNA structure, which disrupts the instructions that control the cell growth. However, the exact medical cause of stomach cancer is still unknown, but some common knowledge of the disease may let you know that it can also be caused due to smoking, unhealthy diet and hereditary factors.
Symptoms of Stomach Cancer
The symptoms of stomach cancer in its early stage is difficult to diagnose. As the initial symptoms are associated with some very common medical conditions, most people fail to recognize them as stomach cancer. This includes, a sensation of feeling full during meal, dysphagia or swallowing difficulties, feeling bloated after meals, excessive rate of burping, heartburn, continuous ingestion, stomach ache that rises to the breastbone, trapped wind and vomiting that contains blood.
As the tumor grows more prominent symptoms starts to appear. They include a staggering condition of dysphagia and extreme indigestion along with unexpected weight loss, continuous sickly feeling or anemic. Symptoms like accumulation of fluid inside stomach, black and bloodied stool, fatigue also constitutes to an advanced stage of stomach cancer.
Treating Stomach Cancer
The treatment of stomach cancer will depend on the stage of cancer and the overall health of the patient. There are several treatments available to treat, not cure, stomach cancer.
Surgery involves removal of part or entire stomach along with the surrounding lymph nodes. In subtotal gastronomy, a part of the stomach is surgically removed, whereas, in total gastronomy, the whole stomach is removed. Patient is able to eat normally, though smaller quantities than before. Patients undergoing laparoscopic or robotic surgery recover quicker than those undergoing open surgery. Surgery is the main treatment in cancer.
Radiation therapy or radiotherapy uses energy rays to target and kill the cancerous cells. This, however, is not commonly used to treat stomach cancer as there is a chance of harming the adjacent organs.
This treatment uses drugs to stop the fast division and multiplication of the cancerous cells and shrink the tumor. The drugs for chemotherapy are known as cytotoxic medicines, and they travel through the whole body to attack the particular affected area and other areas where cancer is located.
These are just a few, there are many more treatments that have brought results in treating and controlling stomach cancer, and the doctor will advise on the procedure most suitable for any particular condition. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Oncologist.