About the Stomach Cancer Treatment
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is the fifth most common cancer worldwide. This disease is a result of the growth of cancerous and malignant cells in the inner lining of the stomach.
Stomach cancer does not grow overnight as this disease usually grows slowly over many years. Some pre-cancerous changes take place before true cancer actually develops. But these early changes rarely result in any symptoms and therefore, often go undetected in the early stage when it is most easy to treat it.
Gastric cancer can grow through the wall of the stomach and invade nearby organs. It can easily spread to the lymph vessels and lymph nodes. In an advanced stage, it can travel through the bloodstream and spread or metastasize to organs such as the liver, lungs, and bones. Usually, people diagnosed with stomach cancer have either experienced metastasis already or eventually develop it.
Types of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer should not be confused with other cancers in the abdomen or esophageal cancer. Some other cancer can also occur in the abdomen, including cancer of the large and small intestine, liver or pancreas. These cancers may have different symptoms, outlook, and options for treatment.
Some of the common types of gastric cancer include:
- Adenocarcinoma: It is the most common form of stomach cancer and about 90 to 95 percent of stomach cancers are This form of cancer develops from the cells that form the innermost lining (mucosa) of the stomach.
- Lymphoma: This is a rare form of stomach cancer and only about four percent of stomach cancers are lymphomas. These are cancers of the immune system tissue, sometimes found in the wall of the stomach.
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST): It is a rare kind of tumor that starts in very early forms of cells in the wall of the stomach calledinterstitial cells of Cajal. GISTs can be found anywhere in the digestive tract.
- Carcinoid tumour: It is also a rare form of stomach cancer and about three percent of stomach cancers are carcinoid tumors. Carcinoid tumors start in cells of the stomach that produced hormones.
Some other types of stomach cancers include squamous and small cell carcinoma and leiomyosarcoma. These cancers are very rare.
Stomach Cancer Causes
There is no single, definite cause behind stomach cancer. However, several stomach cancer risk factors have been identified that could potentially lead to the formation to a tumor in the stomach. Some of these stomach cancer causes or risk factors include:
- Inflammation of the gut called gastritis
- Infection with common bacteria called Helicobacter pylori
- Long-lasting anaemia
- Growth in stomach called polyps
- Excessive consumption of smoked, pickled or salty foods
- A-type blood group
- Epstein-Barr virus infection
- Certain genes (family history of disease)
Stomach Cancer Symptoms
There can be several early stomach cancer symptoms. However, the signs of stomach cancer could be present because of some other underlying condition as well. Unfortunately, this is the main reason why it is difficult to make stomach cancer diagnosis at an early stage.
Some of the early stomach cancer symptoms may include:
- Regular indigestion
- Slight nausea
- Loss of appetite
- Frequent burping
- Feeling bloated
But just experiencing indigestion or heartburn after a meal does not really mean that you have cancer. Although, if you experience these symptoms a lot, talk to your doctor, who can decide whether to conduct further tests or not.
As advanced gastric cancer grow, you may experience more serious signs of stomach cancer, including the following:
- Frequent stomach ache or pain in the sternum
- Frequent heartburns
- Vomiting containing blood
- Dysphagia (swallowing difficulties)
- Loss of appetite, accompanied by sudden weight loss
- Blood in stools
- Excessive fatigue
- Yellowish eyes or skin
How is Stomach Cancer Treatment performed?
There are many options for stomach cancer treatment. Your specialist will choose the most appropriate treatment plan for you, depending on the stage of your cancer.
Most often, a combination of the following stomach cancer treatment options is used to remove tumor:
- Surgery: It is the most common and preferred option for the treatment of stomach cancer. Your surgeon may remove stomach cancer as well as the margin of healthy tissue. Surgery helps remove the tumor and stops cancer from spreading to other parts of your body by making sure that no cancerous cells are left behind. If the cancer is in a more advanced stage, it may require removal of the entire stomach. Most of the surgeries are conducted with the help of a special device known as an endoscope. Subtotal gastrectomy and proximal gastrectomy are conducted in the case of distal and proximal cancers.
- Chemotherapy: It involves the use of certain cytotoxic medicines and drugs that help kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. It can be taken as pills or through an IV at a clinic. Chemotherapy usually takes several weeks and it causes some side effects. But these side effects can be subsidized by following your doctor’s advice.
- Radiation therapy: In this treatment, high-energy rays are used to kill cancerous cells. Radiotherapy is not commonly recommended for the treatment of stomach cancer because of the risk of harming other nearby organs. However, in the advanced case of gastric cancer, radiotherapy is an option.
- Targeted medicines: Some new types of drugs can fight cancer cells and have fewer side effects than chemotherapy and radiation, which have the tendency to kill healthy cells along with the cancerous ones.
Stage 0 stomach cancer treatment: It is mostly treated with the help of an endoscopic surgery.
Stage 1 stomach cancer treatment: It is mostly treated with the help of an endoscopic surgery, followed up with a few session of chemotherapy. Sometimes, the surgeon may advise you to undergo a few session of chemotherapy before the surgery as well.
Stage 2 stomach cancer treatment: Surgery is the main treatment option followed by chemotherapy. If you decide against the surgery, a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be used.
Stage 3 stomach cancer treatment: A few cycles of chemotherapy are conducted before the surgery, followed up with a surgery. Following the surgery, a few cycles of chemotherapy are repeated, followed by radiation therapy.
Stage 4 stomach cancer treatment: Chemotherapy is the main treatment option for such patients. A surgery can be conducted to control the symptoms. Radiotherapy could be used if needed to relieve symptoms.
Recovery from Stomach Cancer Treatment
Recovery after stomach cancer treatment can take a long time. You may need special palliative care to manage the discomforting symptoms such as extreme pain. With constant support from the doctors, friends, nurses and family members, the health eventually feels better and you are able to experience an improved quality of life.
You may not be able to eat properly or by your own immediately after the surgery. However, you are able to return back to your normal routine in a few days. Planning and managing regular chemotherapy visits after the surgery can be difficult.
Discuss with your doctor about specific side effects that you are likely to face after chemotherapy. The doctor will give you specific medications that will help relieve specific symptoms such as nausea, weakness, vomiting, joint pain, and headache.
Some of the top international doctors for Stomach Cancer Treatment are:
- Dr. Jalaj Baxi : Cancer Specialist – Surgical Oncologist
Fortis Hospital , Noida, India. 25 Years of experience
- Dr. Anil Thakwani : Cancer Specialist – Surgical Oncologist
Fortis Hospital , Noida, India. 25 Years of experience
Best Hospitals for Stomach Cancer Treatment are:
- Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai
- Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh, Delhi / NCR
- Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, Delhi
- Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj, Delhi
- Medicover Fertility Dwarka, New Delhi
- Kasemrad Hospital Ramkhamhaeng, Bangkok
- StemCells 21, Bangkok
- HE Clinic, Bangkok
- MALI Interdisciplinary Hospital, Bangkok
- Bangpakok 9 International Hospital (BPK 9), Bangkok
- Parkway East Hospital, Joo Chiat Pl
- Farrer Park Hospital, Connexion
- Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Mount Elizabeth
- Gleneagles Hospital, Napier Road
- Thomson Medical Center, Thomson Road