The wall of the stomach is made up of 3 layers of tissue
: the mucosal
(innermost) layer, the muscularis (middle) layer, and the serosal
(outermost) layer. Gastric cancer
begins in the cells
lining the mucosal layer and spreads through the outer layers as it grows.
Age, diet, and stomach disease can affect the risk of developing gastric cancer.
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. Risk factors for gastric cancer include the following:
Check with your doctor if you have any of these problems.
Tests that examine the stomach and esophagus are used to detect (find) and diagnose gastric cancer.
The following tests and procedures may be used:
and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
Blood chemistry studies: A procedure in which a blood sample is checked to measure the amounts of certain substances released into the blood by organs and tissues in the body. An unusual (higher or lower than normal) amount of a substance can be a sign of disease.
Complete blood count
(CBC): A procedure in which a sample of blood is drawn and checked for the following:
The amount of hemoglobin
(the protein that carries oxygen) in the red blood cells.
The portion of the sample made up of red blood cells.
Upper endoscopy: A procedure to look inside the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum
(first part of the small intestine) to check for abnormal
areas. An endoscope
(a thin, lighted tube) is passed through the mouth and down the throat into the esophagus.
(CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye
may be injected
into a vein
or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
Biopsy: The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope
to check for signs of cancer. A biopsy of the stomach is usually done during the endoscopy.
The sample of tissue may be checked to measure how many HER2genes
there are and how much HER2protein
is being made. If there are more HER2 genes or higher levels of HER2 protein than normal, the cancer is called HER2 positive. HER2-positive gastric cancer may be treated with a monoclonal antibody
that targets the HER2 protein.
Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.
The stage of the cancer (whether it is in the stomach only or has spread to lymph nodes
or other places in the body).
The patient’s general health.
When gastric cancer is found very early, there is a better chance of recovery. Gastric cancer is often in an advanced stage when it is diagnosed. At later stages, gastric cancer can be treated but rarely can be cured. Taking part in one of the clinical trials
being done to improve treatment should be considered. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI website.
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the National Cancer Institute.