Stomach cancer, or gastric cancer,is a fairly uncommon type of cancer. Around 7,000 people are diagnosed with it each year in the UK.
The initial symptoms of stomach cancer are vague and easy to mistake for other less seriousconditions.They include:
Symptoms of advanced stomach cancer can include:
As the earlysymptoms of stomach cancer are similar to those of many otherconditions, the cancer is often advanced by the time it's diagnosed. It's therefore important to get any possible symptoms of stomach cancer checked by your GP as soon as possible.
More than 95% of stomach cancers develop in the cells of the stomach lining and are known as adenocarcinomas.
Less common types of stomach cancer include lymphoma of the stomach, which develops in the lymphatic tissue (tissue that drains away fluid and helps fight infection), and gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs), which develop in the muscle or connective tissue of the stomach wall.
Many cases of stomach cancer can't be completely cured, but it's still possible to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life using chemotherapy and in some cases radiotherapy and surgery.
If operable, surgery can cure stomach cancer as long as all of the cancerous tissuecan be removed.
Surgery to remove some or all of the stomach is known as a gastrectomy . It will still be possible to eat normally after a gastrectomy, but you'll probably have to adjust the size of your portions.
Chemotherapy can also be used before surgery to help shrink the tumour and sometimes after surgery to help prevent the cancer returning.
The outlook for stomach cancer depends on several factors, including your age, your general health, and how far the cancer has spread (the stage of the condition).
Unfortunately, as stomach cancer isn't often picked up until the later stages, the outlook isn't as good as for some other cancers. Of all those with stomach cancer, about:
In the UK, around 5,000 people die from stomach cancer each year.
Find out about the symptoms of stomach cancer, who's at risk, how it's treated and what the outlook is.
Read about the early symptoms of stomach cancer which include indigestion, heartburn, feeling full quickly after eating, bloating, stomach pain and difficulty swallowing.
Read about how cancer develops and spreads and the risks associated with stomach cancer.
Find out about the tests that are used to help diagnose stomach cancer, including endoscopy, ultrasound and barium meal X-ray.
Read about the treatments used for stomach cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of these.
Read about living with stomach cancer and the financial help that may be available to you. Also, find out where to go for help and support if you're caring for someone.
During treatment for a stomach ulcer, Deborah Knifton was devastated to find out that she had stomach cancer. This was followed by surgery to remove her stomach.