Stomach cancer is highly associated with smoking and alcohol abuse. There are many other causes, of course, but here are some examples:
- The sex. Men are more at risk than women
- Heredity. Relatives of patients with stomach cancer have a higher risk of getting the disease themselves
- The blood group. People with blood type A have been found to have a higher risk of stomach cancer
- The age. This cancer develops more in the elderly
- The diet. Consumption of smoked and salted foods, as well as preserved foods, increases the risk of gastric cancer, while the many fruits and vegetables in our diet reduce it.
- Helicobacter pylori infection, which goes untreated for years, appears to predispose to the development of certain types of stomach cancer
- Also at risk are those people who work professionally and come in contact with insecticides and pesticides, paints and dyes, nickel products, asbestos, etc.
But what are the most common symptoms associated with stomach cancer and should they alarm us and make us visit the specialist?
- Easy indigestion and weight
- Motion sickness
- Burning behind the sternum
- Aversion to meat
- Bad breath
While in more advanced situations can be added:
- Vomiting with contamination of blood
- Severe stomach pain
- Weight loss
- Bleeding with black stools (black stools)
- Severe weakness due to anemia from chronic blood loss, which may not be obvious.
However, these conditions can be just as dangerous to our health and should in any case lead us to visit a specialist.
But how do we prevent stomach cancer?
Stomach cancer prevention is for people who have no symptoms or who have very mild and atypical symptoms.
The main preventive examination in these cases is gastroscopy.
During the gastroscopy. The inside of the stomach and esophagus are checked with a microcamera. It is an examination that lasts 15 minutes, is done with mild intoxication, and is completely painless, while the patient can return home immediately.
But who are those patients who should undergo preventive gastroscopy and from what age onwards?
In countries like ours and other countries in the Western world. Where the incidence of stomach cancer is relatively small. There are no clear prevention guidelines for when to start gastric bypass screening. The opposite is true in countries with a very high incidence of this cancer, such as Japan and other Asian regions.
In any case, it is good for any person who has aggravating risk factors such as those we developed above, as well as anyone who is over 50 years old, as well as anyone who has a persistent relative symptom, even mild, should visit the specialist doctor, who after taking a detailed history and examining him, will determine whether he should undergo a preventive gastroscopy or some other examination.
Diagnosis and staging
The most common test that documents gastric cancer is. As mentioned above, gastroscopy. Gastroscopy takes a small piece of tissue from the suspicious area of the inside of the stomach and sends it for histological examination or biopsy as we say.
The biopsy proves if the lesion we discovered is malignant. While most of the time it can also determine the type of cancer.
This is followed by a series of other tests that determine the preoperative stage of cancer as we say.
These are radiological examinations, such as:
• Computed Tomography
• PET (Positron Emission Tomography)
• Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
• Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS – Endoscopic UltraSound)
• Barium esophagus-stomach passage
And blood tests such as
• General blood test
Radiological examinations determine the extent of the disease, ie how far cancer has progressed and spread, or otherwise determine, as we say, the stage of the disease.
Cancer markers are also used as prognostic factors. But mainly help us to monitor the patient after surgery. Cancer markers. In those cases that are elevated. Warn us in time for possible recurrence and recurrence of cancer.
It should be noted that cancer markers do not always increase in cancer, so even when they come out normal, we can not rest.
The final staging is done of course after the surgery that usually follows, so the preoperative findings are supplemented with the image that the surgeon encounters during the surgery and with the result of the histological examination after the radical removal of cancer.
How exactly does stomach cancer progress?
The stages of stomach cancer are basically 5 with some subdivisions in each of them. Due to the complex way in which they are calculated we will refer briefly.
When the cancer cells are completely superficial on the inner surface of the stomach. This stage is also called carcinoma in situ.
Stages I, II, and III
These three stages are determined by how deep cancer has penetrated the stomach wall. But also by the number of lymph nodes around the expanded stomach.
It is the stage at which we have the cancer spread or metastasize to other organs near or farther from the original location of cancer.
Treatment and treatment
Depending on the stage of each patient who has been found to suffer from stomach cancer. The type of treatment and treatment is decided.
The treatment should be done by a team of specialized doctors. Who are the oncology team and work together harmoniously to give the best and most complete combination of treatment to each patient individually.
The oncology board, which usually consists of the oncologist surgeon, the oncologist, and the radiotherapist. Who is accompanied by other relevant specialties of scientists (pathologist, radiologist, molecular biologist, and geneticist, etc., who will be followed in all phases of treatment and follow-up (follow up)?
Surgery usually precedes all others. The surgeries that can be performed can be:
• Partial gastrectomy and
• Total gastrectomy
The first is surgery performed by gastroscopy and the patient is usually discharged from the hospital on the same day, while the last two are operations performed now with the method of robotic surgery and need 3-5 days of hospitalization.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy usually follow and aim to prevent the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body that may have left the stomach before the cancer was surgically removed.
Other methods available to us today are:
• Inhibition of cancer angiogenesis (specific monoclonal antibodies – antiangiogenic agents eg Bevacizumab, fight the growth of tumor vessels, which is destroyed as it can not bleed)
• Gene therapy (transfer and repair of pathological genes in cancer, targeting, and inactivation of specific genes of cancer cells, etc.)
• Immunotherapy (use of interferon, interleukins, monoclonal antibodies, anti-cancer vaccines that modify and enhance the
This completes the treatment and the patient enters the follow-up stage or as we say in the follow-up period.
Monitoring – FOLLOW UP
After completing the treatment, the patient enters the follow-up period.
At this stage, the oncology team monitors the patient at regular intervals and with special diagnostic examinations. To exclude the possibility of recurrence of cancer or in case it reappears. To be at such an initial point that it can be decisively treated and eradicated. before creating a problem.
As this time progresses, the patient’s chances of achieving a complete cure increase.
The chances of a complete cure also increase as soon as the problem is diagnosed.
The means now exist. Medical technology is evolving at a dizzying pace. And today, more than ever, we must use it. Invest in prevention and really save lives.