Stomach cancer is an abnormal growth of cells that begins in the stomach. The stomach is a muscular sac located at the top and middle of your abdomen, just below your ribs. The stomach receives and holds the food you eat, then helps break it down and digest it. Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, can affect any part of the stomach. In most countries of the world, stomach cancers form in the main part of the stomach (body of the stomach).
Stomach cancer is most likely to affect the area where the long tube (esophagus) that carries the food you swallow meets the stomach. This area is called the gastroesophageal junction.
The location of the cancer in the stomach is one of the factors that doctors consider when determining your treatment options. Treatment usually includes surgery to remove the stomach cancer. Other treatments may be recommended before and after surgery.
- 1 Stomach Cancer Symptoms
- 2 When to consult a doctor
- 3 Common causes of stomach cancer
- 4 Stomach Cancer Risk Factors
- 5 5 Stomach Cancer Prevention Factors
Stomach Cancer Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer may include:
– difficulty swallowing
– Feeling of bloating after eating
– Feeling full after eating small amounts of food
– Stomach pains
– Stomach pain
– Unintentional weight loss
When to consult a doctor
If you have signs and symptoms that worry you, make an appointment with your doctor. This one will likely start by looking at the more common causes of these signs and symptoms.
Common causes of stomach cancer
The causes of stomach cancer are unclear, but research has identified many factors that may increase the risk.
Doctors know that stomach cancer begins when a stomach cell develops changes in its DNA. A cell’s DNA contains the instructions that tell the cell what to do. The changes tell the cell to grow rapidly and continue to live while healthy cells would die. The cells that accumulate form a tumor that can invade and destroy healthy tissue. Over time, the cells can break off and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
Stomach Cancer Risk Factors
Factors that increase the risk of stomach cancer are:
– Gastroesophageal reflux
– a diet rich in salty and smoked foods
– A diet low in fruits and vegetables
– a family history of stomach cancer
– Helicobacter pylori infection
– Long-term stomach inflammation (gastritis)
– To smoke
– Stomach polyps
5 Stomach Cancer Prevention Factors
To reduce the risk of stomach cancer, you can:
1 Maintain a healthy weight
If you are overweight or obese, talk to your doctor about strategies that will help you lose weight. Aim for a slow and steady weight loss of 0.5 to 1 kg per week.
2 Choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Try to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet each day. Choose a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
3 Reduce the amount of salty and smoked foods you eat
Protect your stomach by limiting these foods.
4 Quit smoking
If you smoke, quit. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Smoking increases the risk of stomach cancer, as well as many other types of cancer. It can be very difficult to quit smoking, so ask your doctor for help.
5 Ask your doctor about your risk of stomach cancer.
If you are at increased risk of stomach cancer, talk to your doctor. People with a strong family history of stomach cancer might consider having tests, such as an endoscopy, to look for signs of stomach cancer.