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Dr. Praveen Kammar

MS, MRCS, MCH

Surgical Oncologist

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Stomach Tumor | 18 April 2022, Monday

How Serious is a Stomach Tumor?

how-serious-is-a-stomach-tumor

Overview

Stomach tumors/cancer is the fourth most common cancer around the globe. Being diagnosed with it can be undoubtedly devastating. However, some tumors are benign and do not spread to other body parts.

Tumor in the stomach can affect any part of the stomach. The stomach has 4 main parts- Cardia , Fundus, Body and Antrum.

The junction of the food pipe with the stomach is called gastroesophageal junction OR GE junction. The terminal portion of the stomach is called pylorus.

Any type of stomach tumor should be taken seriously and brought to your doctors’ attention. Keep reading to find out why!

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What are stomach tumors, and what are the types of stomach tumors?

Abnormal growth of cells in the stomach leads to the formation of stomach tumors. There are different types of stomach tumors such as:
The ones that start in the gland cells in the inner stomach lining are called adenocarcinomas.

  • Stomach tumors that start in the stomach wall are known as gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST). These tumors arise from interstitial cells of Cajal.
  • The tumors that arise in the cells that are concerned with immunity in the stomach are called lymphomas.
  • Or, if tumors arise in the hormone cells in the stomach, they are known as neuroendocrine tumors.

Who gets stomach cancer?

Usually, stomach cancer is more common in older people. Around 50 out of 100 cases occur in people aged 75 or over. Men are more prone to stomach cancers than women.

People with a family history of stomach cancer are more likely to get it at some point.

Besides, most stomach cancers are linked to lifestyle or environmental factors, such as a high salt diet, alcohol consumption and smoking.

In addition, stomach cancer is also linked to bacteria infection (Helicobacter pylori). However, do remember that not everyone with Helicobacter pylori infection will develop stomach cancer.

When should I get tested for stomach cancer?

Unfortunately, stomach cancer shows no signs or symptoms in the early stages. As a result, most cases are detected at late stages, which brings out poor treatment outcomes and reduced survival rates.

However, if you experience any following symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.

  • Indigestion or burning sensation in the heart (heartburn)
  • Abdominal discomfort and pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Bloating of the stomach after meals
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness and tiredness
  • Vomiting blood
  • Black colored stools

These symptoms should not be taken lightly if they are around for more than 2 weeks, especially in individuals who are older than 50 years, have strong family history or have a history of smoking and alcohol.

If you need advice on a stomach tumor or are searching for a good stomach cancer specialist, you can consult Dr. Praveen Kammar, With the latest medical equipment, Dr. Praveen Kammar offers comprehensive treatment for stomach tumors of all types stages. One of the most experienced stomach cancer doctors in Mumbai.

How is it diagnosed?

Stomach cancer is often not diagnosed until it’s more advanced, as it rarely shows any symptoms in the early stages. Your doctor will first perform a physical exam to check for any abnormalities to make a diagnosis.

Later some diagnostic tests can help to specifically look for suspected tumors and other abnormalities in the stomach and esophagus which include:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Biopsy
  • Imaging tests, like CT, PET-CT and MRI scans

Why should stomach tumors be taken seriously?

Localized (confined only to stomach) tumors do not pose much threat to the body, but if ignored, they may potentially grow and spread to other body parts.

This is also known as metastasis, where the cells break away from their original site (the primary tumor) and travel through the blood or lymph system to other body parts like the liver, lungs, bones, etc.

The metastatic tumors are life-threatening and don’t show a good response to any treatment modality.

Hence, if you notice any unexplained abnormal gastric symptoms that persist for a few weeks to months, report to your doctor immediately.

Treating stomach cancer:

Treatment of stomach cancer depends on the type of tumor and the stage.

Tumors like GIST and NET ( Neuroendocrine tumors ) are usually diagnosed in early stages where the tumors are confined to the stomach. Hence they can be treated with surgical removal. Sometimes these tumors may have to be reduced in size by medication before surgery is considered.

Lymphomas of the stomach do not need any surgical treatment, unless in emergency situations.

Adenocarcinomas of the stomach can be treated with endoscopic surgery if diagnosed in early stages. This treatment is similar to an endoscopy.

The endoscopist visualizes the tumor and removes it with a cuff of normal stomach lining to ensure complete removal of the tumor. This technique is called EMR ( Endoscopic Mucosal Resection) and ESD ( Endoscopic Submucosal Resection).

Since these early stage cancers do not give rise to any symptoms, they are identified only in screening programs which are established in countries like Japan and South Korea.

Most of the adenocarcinomas identified in India are in a relatively advanced stage. These stages invariably require administration of chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumor and control the spread of cancer cells in the bloodstream and lymphatic stream.

Surgery is usually considered after chemotherapy. Patients may have to take further chemotherapy after surgery.

Such a combination treatment has shown to increase survival by 15-30%.

Preventing stomach cancer

You can lower your risk of developing all cancers by following the methods mentioned below:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Eating a balanced, low-fat diet and high fiber (fruits and vegetables).
  • Quitting smoking and drinking
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Getting timely treatment for H.Pylori infection.

In some cases, doctors prescribe medications to lower the risk of stomach cancer, especially for people with other diseases that may contribute to cancer.

Conclusion

You should never ignore stomach tumors, and note that your chance of recovery is better if the tumor is diagnosed early.

According to the survey, around 30% of people with stomach cancer survive at least five years after diagnosis of localized tumors. However, these tumors may metastasize and make cancer harder to treat.

To know more about stomach tumors, contact our specialist today!

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