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Stomach cancer: first symptoms and manifestations, treatment, prognosis

Cancer of the stomach - a type of oncology, common throughout the world. Although in recent times, physicians have noted a marked decrease in the incidence of oncopathology of the stomach, not a single person is immune from this disease. That is why you should know the first symptoms of gastric cancer, factors causing the development of the disease and the most effective treatment methods.


What is stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer is the uncontrolled reproduction of epithelial cells of the gastric mucosa. When this occurs, intracellular structural changes in the gastric mucosa, which lead to changes in the functions inherent in healthy cells.

The pathological process can develop in any part of the stomach, but it rarely affects the greater curvature.

Stomach cancer

Under the influence of (often long in time) provocative factors, precancerous conditions arise: gastritis, polyps, etc. It is against their background that a cancer tumor is formed, although it can take up to 20 years between precancer and true oncology.

Initially, a tumor formation or ulceration is formed, not exceeding 2 cm in diameter. However, the cancer grows rapidly not only along the periphery, but also deep into the gastric wall.

Some facts about stomach cancer:

  • An absolutely healthy, normally functioning stomach precludes the development of oncology.
  • Stomach cancer in women is diagnosed 2 times less than in men. People with blood type II are most susceptible to the disease.
  • The risk of developing gastric cancer increases with age. This is due to aging processes and numerous cellular mutations in old age.
  • Recent studies have shown that as many as 6 genetic mutations are necessary for the development of cancer.
  • A high incidence of this pathology is observed among the Japanese.
  • In America, in recent years, the percentage of patients with gastric cancer has dropped sharply.
  • Vegetarians suffer from gastric oncology more often than meat eaters.
  • Stomach cancer is one of the most aggressive malignant tumors: metastases are diagnosed in 80% of cases, and the mortality rate is only inferior to lung cancer .
  • Often, signs of gastric cancer are masked as a non-treatable peptic ulcer or benign polyp. Only instrumental diagnostics can reveal the malignant nature of mucosal changes.

Causes and risk factors for gastric cancer

Causes of stomach cancer

Above the search for the causes of any type of cancer, gastric cancer, inclusive, world medicine has been beating for more than a decade. However, no doctor can indicate the only cause of the disease. Most often, a person with diagnosed oncopathology notes several points at once that can activate the mutation of the gastric epithelium to one degree or another.

The most dangerous provoking factors are:

- Infection of Helicobacter pylori and other pathogens

This bacterium provokes the development of gastric ulcers, and the risk of malignancy increases with Helicobacter pylori infection 2.5 times. Inactivation of a pathogenic microorganism has an effect only in the absence of metaplastic changes of the mucous membrane (for example, atrophic gastritis).

However, not only Helicobacter pylori is so dangerous in terms of cancer transformation. Oncology may be triggered by colonization of the stomach by Candida fungus, staphylococci / streptococci.

- Gastric pathology - precancerous diseases

Atrophic gastritis is especially dangerous. Accompanied by low acidity and structural changes in the epithelium, the atrophic type of gastritis increases the risk of malignancy (cancer transformation) 3 times.

Carcinogenic gastritis with low acidity (long-term current leads to mucosal atrophy), peptic ulcer, and stomach polyps.

- Heredity

Genetic predisposition to gastric diseases and inherited gene mutations are an important factor to regularly monitor the health of the stomach and be regularly examined. Oncology of the stomach in blood relatives increases the likelihood of oncopathology by an average of 20%.

- Malnutrition and vegetarianism

According to the nutritional habits of most modern people, you can write instructions. How not to live. Excessive consumption of unnatural food (smoked meat and pickles, chemical additives and nitrites in products), a massive shortage of fruits and vegetables in the diet, snacks in a fast food cafe, excessive love of fried - all this dramatically increases the risk of cancer.

Why do vegetarians often suffer from gastric cancer? The answer is simple - inadequate intake of animal protein is also a risk factor.

- Vitamin deficiency

Not particularly dangerous at first glance, the lack of vitamins C and B12 in combination with other factors can also trigger the development of gastric carcinoma.

- Bad habits

Everyone knows that alcohol is aggressive in relation to the gastrointestinal tract, however, many believe that smoking causes only cancer in the lungs. On the contrary, the more cigarettes smoked per day, the more pernicious the effect on the gastric mucosa and the higher the probability of its malignant transformation.

- Serious diseases not directly related to the stomach

These include malignant anemia (the risk will increase by a factor of 20!), AIDS and other immunodeficiency states (the antitumor effect is inhibited), infection with Epstein-Barr virus agent.

Stages of gastric cancer, metastasis development

Gastric Cancer Stages

Gastric cancer differs in the form of growth of the oncocarp:

  • Polypiform - resembles a fungus on the leg, growing into the lumen of the stomach, the most slowly growing form;
  • The saucer-shaped has the appearance of a clearly bounded ulcer, bordered by a high shaft around the periphery, gives late metastasis;
  • Infiltrative-ulcerative - the edges of the ulcerative focus are blurred, the cancer cells diffuse deep into the walls of the stomach;
  • Infiltrating - oncochag has no visible boundaries.

The latter two types are especially malignant: they quickly infect the entire thickness of the gastric wall, actively metastasize at an early stage, scattering metastases throughout the peritoneum.

Depending on the prevalence of cancer cells and the size of the primary tumor, there are stages of gastric cancer:

  1. I st. (non-invasive early stage gastric cancer) - diameter of the oncocarpus up to 2 cm, primary lesion of the mucous membrane, absence of metastases.
  2. II st. (invasive cancer) - the size of the tumor reaches 4-5 cm, the cancer cells germinate the muscular, subserous layers, regional metastases are found.
  3. III Art. - a significant increase in the size of the cancer focus with the germination of the serous (outer) lining of the stomach, up to 15 affected lymph nodes, distant metastasis is absent.
  4. IV art. - severe complications (germination in adjacent organs - lungs, diaphragm, liver, intestines) and the obligatory presence of distant metastatic foci.

The first symptoms of stomach cancer, signs

First symptoms of stomach cancer

The first symptoms of gastric cancer that arise at the initial stage do not differ in specificity; the patient can “sin” on ordinary gastritis.

Sometimes the resulting unexpressed soreness, loss of appetite, flatulence and dyspepsia - all this is healed by the advertised gastric preparations and is left without the necessary attention. With all the desire to open the "secret" symptom, clearly indicating the development of cancer, it is impossible.

The development of oncoprocess gives a more pronounced clinical picture. In an oncological patient, all the signs of the “small signs” syndrome are recorded:

  • aversion to meat;
  • anemia and weakness, often a rise in temperature;
  • causeless weight loss;
  • pronounced discomfort in the epigastrium.

Usually, these signs of stomach cancer indicate an already spreading malignant tumor. The higher the stage of oncology, the more pronounced are its symptoms.

signs of stomach cancer

Characteristic features of the manifestations of certain types of oncology of the stomach:

  • Endophytic (growing in the stomach cavity) - rapid saturation, feeling of heaviness and overcrowding of the stomach, even after taking a small portion of food;
  • Cancer of the cardiac part - all signs of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing food, painful swallowing, throwing food into the larynx, nose, trachea);
  • Cancer of the pyloric part (exit from the stomach) - difficulty in moving food into the duodenum, belching rotten, vomiting (at the last stage even after fluid intake).

The first signs of gastric cancer with metastases are quite pronounced, it provokes constipation and diarrhea, aggravated herpes pain, ascites and bleeding (vomiting with red blood).

Which doctors should be consulted?

If even the slightest signs of digestive dysfunction (epigastric pain, nausea, etc.) appear, it is necessary to consult a gastroenterologist. If a malignant tumor is suspected, the doctor refers the patient to an oncologist.

Diagnosis of gastric cancer

Early diagnosis of gastric cancer is the most important factor that increases the success of the prognosis of a serious illness. That is why the Japanese introduced the rule to have a home gastroscope. In our country, the primary task is to turn to a gastroenterologist when there is the slightest sign of stomach disease.

Assigned studies:

  • Esophagogastroscopy - allows you to simultaneously perform a biopsy of the pathological focus (ulceration, polyp), is not very informative for diffuse-infiltrative cancer;
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen - detects a seal in the wall of the stomach, reveals metastatic foci in the intestine;
  • X-ray with contrast - reveals endophytic tumors, but does not determine the nature of growth;
  • Blood tests (general, biochemical) - identified abnormalities help suspect a serious abnormality in the body;
  • Testing for tumor markers - indicates oncology;
  • CT, MRI - highly informative methods to accurately determine the boundaries of oncoprocess and identify distant metastases;
  • Laparoscopy is a traumatic procedure that reveals the smallest subcapsular metastases not detectable on ultrasound and tomography.

Stomach cancer treatment

Stomach cancer treatment

The main treatment tactics for gastric cancer are radical tumor removal, chemotherapy, and other therapeutic methods. The earlier treatment is started, the less traumatic schemes will be used, the less damage to the body will be caused. The nuances of treatment vary depending on the stage of oncoprocess and the condition of the patient.


Conducted in 80% of cases, the exception - inoperable patients with a large number of distant metastases. The following types of tumor removal are practiced:

  1. Minimally invasive technologies — cryodestruction, radiofrequency ablation, thermocoagulation — are appropriate only at the initial stage of cancer; they are rarely used due to late diagnosis.
  2. Partial resection of the gastric walls - is also carried out exclusively in the early stages, given that gastric cancer quickly metastasizes.
  3. Gastrectomy is the total removal of the stomach and the filing of the esophagus to the duodenum with resection of the sentinel lymph nodes, performed by open and laparoscopic access. The most accurate operation when using robotic technology (Da Vinci operating robot).
  4. Large-scale removal of the occocci - together with the stomach, the spleen, metastases, part of the intestine, and the liver are rarely excised (partial resection of the segment).
  5. Radiosurgery is a non-invasive method of high-dose exposure to oncocial lesions with an effect comparable to surgery. It assumes the presence of a modern Cyber-Knife installation in the clinic.

Chemotherapy and radiation

The use of cytostatic treatment protocols (chemotherapy) is advisable to stop / prevent metastasis. Often used as adjuvant (pre-operative) measures. Radiation therapy is rarely used, only in inoperable patients.

Newest methods

Modern medicine has just begun to use virotherapy in the treatment of oncology. The essence of the method lies in the introduction of specially grown virus modifications that feed on cancer cells.

Also actively used methods of immunotherapy with drugs that activate the body's defenses. However, these methods are only a supplement to the main treatment and are quite expensive.

How many people live with stomach cancer?

In Russia and the CIS countries, a 6-month survival rate for early detection of a malignant gastric tumor is 65%. Patients with gastric cancer with metastases, even with complex treatment, live in a 5-year perspective from 15% and below. With treatment in countries with more developed medicine, these figures are significantly higher.

Indicators of 5-year survival - how many patients with stomach cancer live:

  • Stage 1 (no symptoms) - up to 80%
  • Stage 2 - about 56%,
  • Stage 3 - 15%,
  • Stage 4 - about 2%.

Prevention of gastric cancer lies in a rational, healthy diet, rejection of bad habits (especially large doses of alcohol) and timely competent treatment of gastric diseases. Regular clinical examination of all patients with pathology of the gastrointestinal tract and with a negative heredity.


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