stomach cancer

Stomach Cancer: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

One of the most dangerous forms of cancer is stomach cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) stomach cancer was the 4th most deadly cancer in 2020. 

Given that this is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, it’s good to have an understanding about it. Here in this article, you will find an overview of the causes, symptoms, and treatments for stomach cancer. 

Stomach Cancer: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Causes Of Stomach Cancer

There is no clear cause of stomach cancer. There are only risk factors associated with it.

Stomach cancer usually begins when a healthy cell in the stomach becomes cancerous and starts growing and invading other healthy cells. It happens when the cell’s DNA changes and orders the cell to grow quickly and outlive the healthy cells. 

Having a family history of stomach cancer and cancer, in general, puts you at high risk of getting stomach cancer. For example, inheriting breast cancer mutations such as mutated BRCA gene one or BRCA gene 2 gives you a high risk of experiencing stomach cancer.

Other inherited cancers such as an inherited mutation E-cadherin/CDH1 or a Lynch syndrome can also put you at risk of having stomach cancer. Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) such as stomach polyps also puts you at risk of getting skin cancer. 

Other risk factors of stomach cancer include:

  • Helicobacter pylori (H-pylori infection)
  • Chronic gastritis
  • Medical history of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
  • Obesity
  • Diet high on sodium and low on fruits and vegetables
  • Smoking

Symptoms Of Stomach Cancer

Symptoms of stomach cancer include the following:

  • Having difficulty swallowing 
  • Feeling bloated even after eating a small number of meals
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Indigestion
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Vomiting (may include vomiting blood) 
  • Nausea 
  • Heartburn

Treatments For Stomach Cancer

Treatments for stomach cancer vary. It includes common cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. 

Targeted drug therapy is a treatment that attacks the cancer cells and the source that allows them to multiply and grow. Drugs that are used to treat different types of cancer vary depending on the patient and situation. 

Chemotherapy is also a treatment option for many types of cancer. This includes stomach cancer. Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that eliminates fast-growing cells such as cancer and leukemia cells. 

Immunotherapy, like what the name suggests, is a type of treatment made for cancer that boosts your body’s immune system. It is a biological therapy that uses substances from living organisms to treat cancer. 

Other treatments for stomach cancer include gastrectomy. Gastrectomy is a type of treatment that removes a part of the stomach.