What is stomach cancer?
In stomach cancer (also called gastric cancer), cancer cells usually begin on the inner lining of stomach walls and then penetrate deeper into the stomach walls as the cancer develops. The tumor may grow to involve nearby organs like the liver and pancreas.
Stomach cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide, but is seen less often in the United States. The number of stomach cancer cases has been steadily declining over the last few decades, possibly because of widespread use of refrigeration that increased access to fresh food without preservatives and bacterial contamination.
What are the causes of stomach cancer?
The main cause of stomach cancer is a genetic mutation (change) in the cells of the stomach, which causes the cells to grow rapidly and eventually form a tumor. Risk factors that can increase a person’s chance of getting stomach cancer include:
- Family history
- Infection from Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria
- A diet high in salt
- A diet that does not include many fruits and vegetables
What are the symptoms of stomach cancer?
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Feeling tired
- Vomiting blood (in advanced stages)