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Stomach cancer


In France, stomach cancer is a common cancer, although it seems to be decreasing in frequency. Affecting mainly people of an older age, it is in nine out of ten due to adenocarcinoma, which develops from glandular cells of the stomach lining. Some factors are associated with a greater risk of developing stomach cancer, including chronic gastritis due to the presence of a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, dietary factors, the presence of polyps, or diseases such as pernicious anemia, which is responsible for a progressive destruction of cells of the gastric wall. Cancer of the stomach is often an unfavorable prognosis.


Pain, nausea, vomiting may be warning signs. But in general, the symptoms of stomach cancer are not specific to this disease. Chronic fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss are common in advanced stages. Rarely, gastrointestinal bleeding may indicate cancer of the stomach. Still symptoms occur relatively late, often resulting in a delayed diagnosis.


The diagnosis of gastric cancer is done through an endoscopic examination, a gastroscopy. This reveals the extent of the malignancy, but a biopsy will determine exactly what type of cancer is affecting the patient. An ultrasound (or CT scan) of the abdomen will complete diagnosis by indicating the extent of the tumor, that is to say if there is lymphadenopathy, lymph node volume increased by the flooding of cancer cells, and metastasis to other organs. This staging may be supplemented by other tests.


The treatment of gastric cancer is surgical and consists of a gastrectomy, that is to say, a partial or total removal of the organ and associated lymph nodes. The affected area is removed, and the restoration of the continuity of the gastrointestinal tract is done by a technique known as anastomosis. Chemotherapy may also be proposed, radiotherapy being rarer. Increased monitoring is needed after treatment.

We know that many risk factors are linked to cancer of the stomach, especially a diet high in salt, smoked fish and meats. Reducing the consumption of these products, and promoting fruit and vegetables at meals are part of preventing cancer of the stomach.

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