Cancer is probably one of the major killer diseases in the world today, and possibly the most dreaded in equal measure. Cancer affects all of us in that, if we have never gotten any form of cancer, we definitely do know someone who has gotten it and possibly succumbed to it.
One type of cancer is stomach cancer.
Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer may include:
- Bloating after meals
- Feeling extremely full after eating small amounts of food.
- Severe and persistent heartburn.
- Severe and unrelenting heartburn
- Persistent and unexplained nausea
- Stomach pains
- Persistent vomiting
- Unintentional weight loss
Seek a doctor when you experience these unrelenting signs and symptoms. A doctor will do more comprehensive tests to determine if it really is cancer and what course of action is necessary.
Causes of stomach cancer
Researchers and doctors alike have not yet figured out the cause of stomach cancer. There is however a very strong correlation between stomach cancer and a diet rich in smoked and heavily salted foods. As refrigeration of foods has come up as a way of preserving food to prevent spoilage, so has the incidence of stomach cancer in the world.
Cancer normally occurs as a result of a mutation whose genesis is the cell’s DNA. Mutation normally causes the cell to rapidly grow and subdivide and continue living where as a normal cell would ideally die. These cells overwhelm the body’s system that is meant to deal with anomalous cells rendering them to some extent uncontrollable. The accumulated cancer cells form a tumor that invades nearby structures and organs. The cancerous cells are also capable of breaking off and spreading to other body parts to form tumors.
Types of stomach cancer
The body has different types of cells. The type of cell that becomes mutated to become cancerous determines the type of cancer of the stomach that will come about. The type of cancerous cell also helps determine which course of action and treatment will be best.
- Adenocarcinoma - This is cancer that begins in the stomachs glandular cells. The stomachs glandular cells line the inner layer of the stomach and produce protective mucus that lines the inside of the stomach protecting it from acidic digestive juices. Adenocarcinoma accounts for the greatest percentage of stomach cancers.
- Lymphomas - These are cancers that develop in the immune system cells. The stomach walls are lined with immune system cells that can become mutated and cause cancer. Lymphoma of the stomach is rare.
- Carcinoid cancer - This type of cancer begins in hormone producing cells. These cells are capable of becoming cancerous. Though carcinoid cancer is rare.
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) - GIST is a cancer whose origin is the nervous system cells of the stomach. It is also a rare type of cancer.
People mostly refer to adenocarcinoma as stomach cancer since the other types of cancers affecting the stomach are very rare.
Risk factors associated that could cause stomach cancer include:
- A diet that is rich in smoked and high salt content foods
- A diet that is lacking or low in fruits and vegetables
- Eating foods that are contaminated with aflatoxin fungus
- A family history of stomach cancer
- Infections of helicobacter pylori
- Long term inflammation of the stomach
- Pernicious anemia
- Stomach polyps
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