Gastrointestinal (Stomach) Cancer | Types, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Cancer that originates along the GI system is called gastrointestinal (GI) cancer (also called the digestive tract). The oesophagus, also known as the tube that transports food from the mouth to the stomach, is the beginning point of the gastrointestinal tract, which continues all the way down to the anus (where waste exits the body). Primary gastrointestinal (GI) cancer begins its growth process in the GI tract.
Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer is a group of cancers that affect the digestive system. This includes all of the cancers written below:
- Oesophageal Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Cancer of the gallbladder and biliary tract
- Cancer of the pancreas
- Gastro-Intestinal Stromal Tumour (GIST)
- Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs)
- Colorectal Cancer
- Cancer of the intestines
- Anal Cancer
If you have unusual GI symptoms or want to learn more about the disease, our team of experts is here to help. The Sanarcare compiles information about different hospitals' diagnostic and pathology services in one place. The site's goal is to aid patients in locating nearby diagnostic centres, pathology labs, and hospitals. Find a Doctor near you to learn more about what we can do for you.
Types of stomach cancer
What kind of stomach cancer you have depends on what kind of cell cancer started in. Some examples of stomach cancer are:
- Adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma starts in cells that make the mucus in the stomach. This is the type of stomach cancer that most people get. Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of cancer that starts in the stomach.
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST). GIST starts in nerve cells in the walls of the stomach and other digestive organs. Soft tissue sarcomas include GIST.
- Carcinoid tumours. Cancers that start in the neuroendocrine cells are called carcinoid tumours. There are many places in the body where neuroendocrine cells can be found. They do some things that nerve cells do and some things that hormone-making cells do. Neuroendocrine tumours include carcinoid tumours.
- Lymphoma. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the immune system. Germs are fought by the immune system of the body. If the body sends immune system cells to the stomach, lymphoma can sometimes start there. If the body is trying to fight off an infection, this could happen. Most types of lymphomas that begin in the stomach are not Hodgkin's lymphomas.
What are the causes of Gastrointestinal cancer?
Symptoms of stomach cancer include a throbbing or burning sensation in the abdominal region.
Symptoms such as acid reflux or indigestion (dyspepsia)
- a feeling of satiety following even a relatively modest meal
- a stomach ache and/or throwing up
- a decrease in appetite and/or a loss of weight
- abdominal distention and edoema
- fatigue and/or a lack of strength for no apparent reason
- blood in vomit
- faeces that have a dark colour to them.
What are the symptoms of stomach cancer?
Some of the warning signs and symptoms of stomach cancer are:
- Not able to swallow
- Stomach pain
- Feeling bloated after eating
- Small amounts of food make you feel full
- Not feeling hungry when you should feel hungry
- Not trying to lose weight
- Feeling very tired
- Black-looking stools
In its early stages, stomach cancer doesn't always make people feel sick. When they happen, you might feel bloated or have pain in the upper part of your belly. Cancer may not show any signs until it has spread. In the later stages of stomach cancer, you might feel very tired, lose weight without trying to, throw up blood, or have black stools.
Metastatic stomach cancer is cancer that has spread from the stomach to other parts of the body. It has symptoms that depend on where it goes. For instance, if cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, you might be able to feel lumps under the skin. If cancer spreads to the liver, the skin and whites of the eyes might turn yellow. If cancer in the belly spreads, it could cause fluid to build up in the belly. It may look like the belly is swollen.
Treatment options for stomach cancer
The stage of cancer and its location within the stomach both have a role in determining the treatment choices available for stomach cancer. When formulating a treatment strategy for you, the medical professional takes into consideration your overall health as well as any preferences you may have. Surgical removal of the tumour, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and palliative care are among the treatment options for stomach cancer.
Small stage 1 stomach cancers can often be cut out of the stomach's lining. But if cancer spreads to the muscle layer of the stomach wall, this might not be an option. For some stage 1 cancers, surgery may be needed to take out all or part of the stomach.
When stomach cancer is in stages 2 and 3, surgery may not be the first treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy could be used first to shrink cancer. This could make it easier to get rid of all cancer. Some or all of the stomach and some lymph nodes are often taken out during surgery.
Surgery might be an option if stage 4 stomach cancer spreads through the stomach and into nearby organs. To get rid of all cancer, parts of nearby organs might also have to be taken out. There may be other ways to shrink cancer first. If stage 4 cancer can't be completely removed, surgery might be able to help control the symptoms.
The most crucial step in the prevention of severe gastrointestinal cancer is early identification. Screening for cancers of the digestive tract, such as colon and rectal cancer, can detect these diseases at earlier, more curable stages. These tests can frequently detect cancer before the onset of symptoms.
Although colonoscopy is the most prevalent form of cancer screening, there are other options. Discuss your options with your primary care physician, including whether or not and when you should begin screening.
Prevention for stomach cancer
To reduce your chance of getting stomach cancer, you can:
- Eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies. You should try to eat fruits and vegetables every day. Choose a wide range of fruits and vegetables in different colours.
- You should eat less salty and smoked foods. Avoid these foods to protect your stomach.
- Stop smoking. If you smoke, quit. Don't start smoking if you don't already. When you smoke, your chance of getting stomach cancer and many other kinds of cancer goes up. It can be hard to stop smoking, so ask your doctor or nurse for help.
The prevention of gastrointestinal malignancies begins with leading a healthy lifestyle. This is due to the fact that some of the risk factors for gastrointestinal cancer affect your entire health and fitness. You can help lower your risk of gastrointestinal cancer by maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco products, and reducing the amount of alcohol you consume.
Tell your doctor if someone in your family has had stomach cancer. People who have a strong history of stomach cancer in their family might get a test for it. Tests for screening can find stomach cancer before it causes any symptoms.