Two types of tumours can be present in the stomach, malignant tumours, which are able to spread to other organs or to the bones, while benign tumours can grow but do not spread beyond the stomach.
The process by which stomach cancer develops is often slow and can take years. This is why at an early stage it has almost no symptoms and no changes are seen, making it difficult to detect.
Depending on where in the stomach they start to grow they can cause different symptoms and the consequences are different.
Depending on your location, your treatment will depend.
In other words, those arising, for example, in the gastro-oesophageal junction, are classified and treated in the same way as oesophageal cancer, whereas those arising in the cardia of the stomach (the muscle between the stomach and oesophagus) is first classified in stages and is then treated as oesophageal cancer.
This type of pathology can cause metastasis, meaning it can spread to other nearby organs. In an advanced stage, it can move into the blood and spread to the liver, lungs and bones.
Risk factors refer to the chances of contracting a disease, either through factors that can be modified, such as smoking; or through factors that cannot be modified, such as family history and age.
Suppose risk factors indicate a greater predisposition to contracting a disease, in this case stomach cancer, but you can’t be sure it will occur. There are cases where people are affected by the disease without having any family history or risk factors.
- Gender: Stomach cancer is more common in men than in women.
- Age: After the age of 50, the rate increases significantly, with the highest number of cases in people aged 60 to 90.
- Ethnicity: the countries with the highest number of cases worldwide are China, Japan, Eastern Europe, and Central and South America, with lower numbers in West Africa, South Africa, Central Asia, South Asia and North America.
- Helicobacter pylori infection: This bacteria can be a major cause of stomach cancer.
- Stomach lymphoma: People who have developed a type of stomach lymphoma are at higher risk of this disease, which has a close relationship with the Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
- Dietary factor: a greater increase in this disease has been detected in people who regularly eat fish and smoked foods, as well as salted meat, cured meat and vegetables preserved in vinegar.
- Tobacco: The bad habit of smoking increases the chances of stomach cancer and has incidence in others. The chances double in smokers.
- Overweight: Obesity or being overweight could be an influential factor in developing the disease. But this is still in the study stage.
- Anaemia: Vitamin B12 deficiency affects the body’s ability to produce red blood cells and can also lead to other complications. This is called pernicious anaemia. And people who develop this disease are more likely in the future to get stomach cancer.
- Stomach operations:
People who have had to undergo stomach surgery, for example, because of ulcers, are more likely to develop stomach cancer in the future. Cancer usually develops many years after surgery.
- Blood group A:
For factors that are still unknown people with blood type A are more likely to get stomach cancer.
- Hereditary factor: Hereditary factor seems to play a predominant role in the development of stomach cancer. Especially when it has been recorded in direct relatives like parents, mothers and siblings.
- Work factor: People who are employed in occupations that have a direct relationship with metal, rubber and coal industry may be more prone to develop stomach cancer.
Symptoms – warning signs:
Since the stomach is the main agent of food digestion, symptoms are mostly detected there.
But, as noted earlier, it is not always detected in the early stage.
Viruses or stomach ulcers usually present symptoms that may be consistent with stomach cancer. If this is the case for you, try to rule out any complications and treat your condition properly.
Possible symptoms include:
- Vomiting (with or without blood)
- Abdominal swelling
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss for no apparent reason
- Abdominal discomfort at the navel
- The feeling of fullness, even after a small swallow
These symptoms may coincide with other conditions that have treatment. And they are not dangerous, but if in doubt, it is best to consult your doctor.