What is stomach cancer?
In stomach cancer, cancer cells usually begin on the inner lining of stomach walls and then penetrate deeper into the stomach walls as the cancer progresses. The tumor may grow to involve surrounding organs like the liver and pancreas.
Stomach cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide, but is less commonly seen in the United States. The number of stomach cancer cases has been steadily declining over the last few decades. It has been suggested this may have been due to widespread use of refrigeration that increased access to fresh food without preservatives and bacterial contamination.
Stomach cancer may also be called gastric cancer.
What are the causes of stomach cancer?
The main cause of stomach cancer is a genetic mutation (change) in the cells of the stomach that causes the cells to grow rapidly and eventually form a tumor. There are risk factors that can increase a person’s chance of getting stomach cancer.
Some of the risk factors for stomach cancer are:
- Family history
- Infection from Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) bacteria
- A diet high in salt
- A diet with not 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)