Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, refers to the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells within the lining of the stomach. It is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that can spread to other parts of the body if not diagnosed and treated early.


There are many types of gastric cancer. The commonest type is gastric adenocarcinoma.
Another common subtype is gastro-intestinal stromal tumours (GIST). The information below refers mostly to gastric adenocarcinoma.

Stomach cancer is more common in older individuals and is often associated with a history of certain risk factors.


Causes and Risk Factors

The development of stomach cancer can be linked to various risk factors, including:

  • Infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria
  • Chronic inflammation of the stomach
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • A diet high in smoked, salted, or pickled foods
  • Family history of stomach cancer
  • Previous stomach surgery



The symptoms of stomach cancer may include:

  • Persistent abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Nausea and vomiting, especially after meals
  • Loss of appetite and unintended weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vomiting blood or blood in the stool
  • Fatigue and weakness


Diagnosing stomach cancer typically involves a combination of imaging tests, such as an upper endoscopy, CT scans, and MRIs, as well as biopsies to establish the diagnosis. Blood tests may also be performed to assess the overall health and functioning of the body.



Treatment options for stomach cancer depend on the stage of the cancer, the overall health of the patient, and the specific characteristics of the tumour. Such decisions are made in a multi-disciplinary setting. Treatment with curative intent usually requires a combination of chemotherapy and surgery. 


Treatment modalities are often used in combination and may include: 

  • Surgical removal of part of all of the stomach with surrounding lymph nodes. 
  • For cases of early gastric cancer, removal using endoscopic approaches alone (instead of surgery) may be appropriate.
  • Chemotherapy to target and destroy cancer cells
  • Targeted therapy and immunotherapy for advanced-stage stomach cancer


Regular follow-up visits with a healthcare provider are crucial for individuals diagnosed with stomach cancer to monitor the response to treatment, detect any potential recurrence, and manage any side effects or complications associated with the disease or its treatment. Early detection and prompt intervention are key in improving the prognosis and outcomes for individuals with stomach cancer.

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