Gastric Cancer

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Name of Disease

Gastric Cancer, also known as the stomach cancer, is a disease that happens in your stomach. Stomach cancer usually begins in cells in the inner layer of the stomach. Over time, the cancer may invade more deeply into the stomach wall, until it affects the entire organ causing it to not function anymore.

Means of disease tranmission

Doctors do not really know why one person can develop the cancer and other does not. However there are many risk factors for the gastric cancer, such as:
  • Helicobacter pylori infection: a bacterium that commonly infects the inner lining of the stomach, which can develop to stomach cancer.
  • Long-term inflammation of the stomach: people who has stomach inflammation, such as the blood disease pernicious anemia, and those who had parts of their stomach removed, have an increased chance to develop the cancer.
  • Smoking: smokers have a greater chance to develop cancer than the non-smokers.
  • Family history: Close relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, or children) of a person with a history of stomach cancer are somewhat more likely to develop the disease themselves.
  • Poor diet, lack of physical activity, or obesity: studies shows that people who have diet in foods like smoked, salted, or pickled have an increased risk of developing the cancer. And people who are obese and those who are lacking of physical activities are more likely to develop the disease.


  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark stools
  • Difficulty swallowing, particularly difficulty that increases over time
  • Excessive belching
  • General decline in health
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Premature abdominal fullness after meals
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Vague abdominal fullness
  • Vomiting blood
  • Weakness or fatigue

Health Implications

  • Fluid buildup in the belly area (ascites)
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Spread of cancer to other organs or tissues
  • Weight loss


According to the National Cancer Institute, from 2003-2007, the age-adjusted incidence rate was 7.8 per 100,000 men and women per year. The rate is based on the cases diagnosed in 2003-2007. See table below:


According to diagnose from 2007, in the United States there were approximately 65,639 men and women alive who had a history of cancer of the stomach -- 37,297 men and 28,342 women who suffered from the stomach cancer.


The only curative treatment for this disease is the surgical removal of the organ, depending on the size of the tumor. Other treatments can be radiation therapy and chemotherapy, which may be beneficial. And many patients who received radiation therapy and chemotherapy had prolonged survival, but it does not cure the cancer. Even though a person can receive transplant, it is very uncommon because they are usually done as part of a multi-organ transplant along with the liver, intestine or pancreas.

What can we do?

Even though the cause of the gastric cancer is unknown, there are many ways to decrease the chance of having it.
  • Have some kind of physical activity
  • Don't smoke
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Taking a medication to treat reflux disease, if present

And if a person is treated in his early stage of cancer, there is a bigger chance to cure it. To see if a person has gastric cancer, he can go through following tests:
  • Complete blood count (CBC) to check for anemia
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) with biopsy
  • Stool test to check for blood in the stools
  • Upper GI series

Works cited:

"Gastric Cancer - PubMed Health." PubMed Health. A.D.A.M., Disclaimer, 05 Nov. 2009. Web. 27 Mar. 2011 .<>.
"Stomach Cancer Symptoms, Causes, Stages and Gastric Cancer Treatment on"MedicineNet - Health and Medical Information Produced by Doctors. Web. 27 Mar. 2011. <>.
"Cancer of the Stomach - SEER Stat Fact Sheets." National Cancer Institute. Web. 27 Mar. 2011. <>.