What is stomach cancer?
Stomach cancer is one of the malignant tumors that affect the stomach, the Western world today is witnessing a decrease in the prevalence of stomach cancer, stomach cancer is divided into two types, namely: the first affects the upper section of the stomach, the second affects the lower section of the stomach.
The incidence rates of the first type, which affects the upper part of the stomach, are higher compared to the other type, but in developing countries, stomach cancer ranks third in terms of prevalence rates among various cancer diseases.
A distinction is usually made between the different degrees of the progression of gastric cancer since at the early stage the infection is limited to the area of the inner membrane of the stomach, i.e. the stomach lining, and surgical treatment at this stage is often very effective and with excellent results.
But if the injury has spread beyond the area of the stomach lining to the muscle layer or the lymph nodes that surround the stomach, the chances of recovery are much lower, and if the injury is in the upper area of the stomach, the chances of recovery are lower than in the case of injury in the lower section of the stomach.
Symptoms of stomach cancer
Stomach cancer in its early stages does not cause any symptoms or signs, which makes it difficult to diagnose, the symptoms of stomach cancer include:
The feeling of tightness and discomfort.
Aches in the upper abdomen.
Bloating or vomiting after eating.
Lack of appetite.
And lose weight.
The feeling of weakness as a result of anemia.
Feces are black in color.
The presence of blood in the vomit.
Peptic ulcer disease can sometimes cause symptoms similar to those that appear due to stomach cancer.
Causes and risk factors for stomach cancer
Causes of stomach cancer “Helicobacter pylori” is one of the most important factors that increase the risk of stomach cancer
The following are the most prominent causes of stomach cancer
Causes of stomach cancer one of the most important factors that increase the risk of stomach cancer is exposure to bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori, which causes inflammation of the inner membrane of the stomach.
The reason for about a third of cases of stomach cancer is mostly due to exposure to infection due to these bacteria, but despite this, most people who carry these bacteria do not develop any of the diseases that affect the stomach.
2. The diet
Eating smoked, dried, salted, or spicy foods increases the number of nitrates in the stomach, and these substances inside the stomach are subjected to chemical changes that turn them into carcinogens.
In contrast, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables or foods that are stored in a safe way and kept in refrigeration reduces the risk of stomach cancer.
3. Other reasons
In addition to these two factors, smoking and excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages are among the reasons that increase the risk of developing cancer in the upper part of the stomach, and the likelihood of developing stomach cancer also increases when undergoing gastric surgery, but this risk factor becomes serious twenty years after the date of the operation.
Statistics show that the probability of developing stomach cancer increases at least twofold to fourfold in people whose close relatives have had stomach cancer, which is more widespread among men than women, and stomach cancer is especially pronounced at the age stage between 70 – 75 years.
Complications of stomach cancer
If stomach cancer develops to advanced stages, it can lead to many complications such as:
Perforation of the stomach.
Obstruction of the small intestine.
Diagnosis of stomach cancer
Diagnosis of stomach cancer computed tomography (CT)
There are different ways in which we can diagnose stomach cancer, the most prominent of which are the following:
1. Gastroscopy of the stomach (Gastroscopy)
Stomach cancer is often diagnosed by gastroscopy, which is an examination by which the presence of a gastric ulcer, a tumor mass, or condensation in the inner wall of the stomach can be detected.
2. X-Ray imaging with barium contrast injection (Barium)
This is no longer a preferred method for diagnosing stomach cancer and day by day the imaging method is becoming less accepted and approved.
3. Computed tomography (computed Tomography – CT)
It can be used to detect whether cancer has spread beyond the stomach wall or whether the inner stomach wall has become thick, and this method is usually used to complete the medical clarification process.
4. Endoscopic ultrasound (Endoscopic ultrasound-EUS)
This examination makes it possible to detect the extent to which cancer has penetrated into the stomach wall and into the lymph nodes.
Treatment of stomach cancer
Gastric cancer treatment is related to the stage at which stomach cancer is diagnosed, and gastric surgery to remove a tumor from the stomach (Gastrectomy) is the only way to treat stomach cancer that can achieve complete recovery from stomach cancer.
During this operation, part of the stomach can be removed or the entire stomach can be removed according to the need and depending on the degree of spread of the tumor, in some specific cases, especially those where the tumor has spread to the stomach wall, it is usually followed to combine radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
In cases where stomach cancer is detected at an advanced stage, treatment is usually focused on providing reasons for support and support to the patient, in terms of maintaining a proper diet and providing pain relief treatments.
Sometimes the patient may need to be fed through a special updated opening in the abdominal wall that connects directly to the stomach, which is known as a gastrostomy, and sometimes the patient may be fed through an updated opening to the inside of the intestine, which is known as a jejunostomy.
In any case, people whose close relative has had stomach cancer are advised to undergo screening for Helicobacter pylori and be treated as needed.
Prevention of stomach cancer
Stomach cancer can be prevented by the following:
Limit the amount of alcohol you consume, and do not use tobacco products.
Avoid eating smoked and pickled foods, salted meat, and fish.
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and lots of whole grain foods, such as whole grain bread, cereals, pasta, and rice.
Maintain a healthy weight.