Stomach cancer is not a common type of cancer in the United States. Stomach cancer occurs more frequently in areas outside of the United States, with the highest rates occurring in Japan, China, Southern and Eastern Europe, South America, Central America, and Iceland. It most frequently occurs in men over the age of 40 years old.
The exact cause of stomach cancer is unknown. Stomach cancer occurs when cells in the stomach grow abnormally and out of control. Researchers believe that stomach cancer forms slowly over several years. The primary treatment for stomach cancer is surgery.
Stomach cancer can spread through the layers of the stomach. It can spread through the wall of the stomach and into nearby organs. Cancer that grows outside of the stomach and spreads to other parts of the body is referred to as metastasized cancer. Stomach cancer can metastasize to the lymph system if it grows into the lymph nodes. Advanced stomach cancer can travel in the bloodstream and metastasize to other organs, such as the liver, lungs, and bones.
Am I at RiskAdenocarcinoma is the most common type of stomach cancer worldwide. It most frequently occurs in men over the age of 40 years old. Stomach cancer occurs more frequently in areas outside of the United States, with the highest rates occurring in Japan, China, Southern and Eastern Europe, South America, Central America, and Iceland. The incidence of adenocarcinoma in the United States has declined.
Risk factors may increase your likelihood of developing stomach cancer. People with all of the risk factors may never develop the disease; however, the chance of developing stomach cancer increases with the more risk factors you have. You should tell your doctor about your risk factors and discuss your concerns.
Risk factors for stomach cancer:
_____ The risk of stomach cancer increases with age, especially over the age of 50 years old.
_____ Stomach cancer occurs more frequently in men than in women.
_____ People with Type A blood have a higher risk of developing stomach cancer than people with other blood types.
_____ Some genetic traits have been linked with the development of stomach cancer. Some families appear to have genetic changes that put them at a slightly higher risk for developing stomach cancer. If your close relatives have experienced stomach cancer, you have an increased likelihood of developing the disease.
_____ Some medical conditions can increase the risk for stomach cancer including an infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori or the Epstein-Barr virus, stomach polyps, Ménétrier's disease, and pernicious anemia.
_____ People that have had stomach surgery have an increased risk for stomach cancer.
_____ It appears that what you eat may influence your risk of developing stomach cancer. Diets that are high in smoked foods, salted fish, salted meats, and pickled vegetables are associated with an increased risk of cancer.
_____ Smoking tobacco, such as cigarettes, substantially increases the risk of stomach cancer.
_____ Researchers suggest that there is a link between alcohol consumption and stomach cancer, although the association has not been proven.
_____ Obesity or being overweight is associated with an increased risk for stomach cancer.
The side effects of radiation therapy and chemotherapy can be harsh for some people. The type of side effects you may experience can depend on the type of radiation therapy or chemotherapy that you receive. Tell your doctor about the side effects you experience. In some instances, steps can be taken to relieve or reduce the amount of side effects.
Researchers are studying sentinel lymph node mapping methods. Lymph node mapping can indicate how far the cancer has spread through the lymph node system and identify cancerous lymph nodes for removal. This technique is already used for breast cancer and melanoma treatment.
In the area of immunotherapy, researchers are studying ways to boost a person’s immune system to fight stomach cancer better. Medications are also being studied that can detect fast and slow growing cancer cells. Finally, researchers are looking for new ways to perfect the screening process for stomach cancer.