A sac-like organ, the stomach is located in the upper abdomen between the esophagus and small intestine of the body. The stomach is a part of the digestive system and performs a body’s significant functions including, storage and digestion of food with the help of gastric juices. The partly digested food traverses directly into the small intestine. From the small intestine, the food passes the large intestine.
Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, results due to inflammation in the stomach. Stomach cancer occurs due to external as well as risk factors. Following is the list of some of the few risk factors that can lead to stomach cancer including,
- Infected stomach caused by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
- Chronic gastritis that causes an inflammation of the stomach
- Pernicious anemia
- Intestinal metaplasia in which the stomach lining is substituted with the cells that are present in the walls of intestines.
- Gastric polyps or familial adenomatous polyposis.
- indulging in a diet that is high in salt and low in vitamins and minerals. Or foods that are either smoked or have not been prepared properly.
- Beyond the age of 55
- Smoking cigarettes
- History of stomach cancer
Diagnosis of stomach cancer in India:
Stomach cancer involves a diagnostic procedure performed to evaluate the medical history. Also, a detailed physical exam is performed. Due to the size of the stomach, the symptoms that arise at an early stage are non-specific. As a matter of fact, the physical findings do not exhibit a substantial sign until the disease reaches its advanced stage. Symptoms including, indigestion, bloating, nausea, sudden loss of appetite, heartburn, discomfort etc. are quite common in people with early-stage stomach cancer. If the stage of cancer has advanced, symptoms like stomach pain, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing, palpable mass, severe weight loss, blood in the stool, to name a few.
One of the most preferred and effective procedure, Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (EGD) can be used for the detection and diagnosis in patients with stomach cancer. In this gold standard procedure, an endoscope which is an ultra-thin, lighted tube with one camera at an end is made to pass through the mouth of the patient to reach down the throat. It helps in examining the inside of the esophagus, duodenum and stomach to determine the abnormal areas. Presence of abnormal masses, ulcers and protrusions need to be biopsied; the results should be sent for pathological analysis to establish if the cancer cells are present.
After the diagnosis has been made, the extent of the disease has to be determined before performing an interventional treatment in India. This process to assess the progression of the disease is called as staging. Knowing the stage and extent of spread of the disease is mandatory to and considered as more profitable on deciding the best course of stomach cancer treatment in India. Scans such as CT scans and PET scans are preferably used to identify the spread of this disease to various parts of the body. In addition, endoscopic ultrasound is performed to assess the extent of tumor invasion along with the involvement of the regional lymph nodes or
Recently, Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) has been used in assessing the depth of tumor invasion such as to other organs, and involvement of regional lymph nodes. This type of ultrasound helps in executing an accurate preoperative assessment of the stage of the tumor. Also, it allows the identification of the subset of the patients who will undergo chemotherapy.