Delta Medix Patient General Information

Gastric Cancer

Gastric or stomach cancer is formed in tissues lining the stomach, which is part of the digestive system. Food moves from the mouth through the esophagus to the stomach. In the stomach, the food becomes liquid. Muscles in the stomach wall push the liquid into the small intestine.

Stomach cancer cells can spread by breaking away from the original tumor. They enter blood vessels or lymph vessels, which branch into all the tissues of the body. The cancer cells may be found in lymph nodes near the stomach or may attach to other tissues and grow to form new tumors. The spread of cancer cells is called metastasis.

Early stomach cancer often does not cause symptoms. As the cancer grows, the most common symptoms are

  • Discomfort or pain in the stomach area
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling full or bloated after a small meal
  • Vomiting blood or having blood in the stool

Most often, these symptoms are not due to cancer. Other health problems can cause the same symptoms. Anyone who has these symptoms should tell their doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

Treatment Options for Gastric Cancer

  • Surgery for stomach cancer depends mainly on where the cancer is located. The surgeon may remove the whole stomach or only the part where the cancer is located. You and your surgeon can talk about the types of surgery and which may be right for you.
  • Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. The drugs enter the bloodstream and can affect cancer cells all over the body. Most people with stomach cancer are treated with chemotherapy. Anticancer drugs may be given through a vein, but some may be given by mouth. Chemotherapy may be given before or after surgery. After surgery, chemotherapy may be given with radiation therapy.
  • Radiation Therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It affects cells only in the part of the body that is treated. Radiation therapy is usually given with chemotherapy to treat gastric cancer. The type of radiation therapy used is external radiation. The radiation comes from a large machine outside the body and is usually given five days a week for several weeks.