The stomach is part of the digestive system where food is processed into liquid and passed into the small intestine to absorb nutrients.
Stomach cancer is also called gastric cancer and typically originates in the stomach’s mucosa, or inner lining. It tends to grow very slowly and while there are pre-cancerous changes to the lining before the cancer starts, they rarely cause symptoms and therefore go undetected. Later stage symptoms include stomachache, difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting, unexplained weight loss and bloating.
Two out of three people diagnosed with stomach cancer are over the age of 70. Approximately 13,000 men and 8,000 women will be diagnosed with stomach cancer in the United States every year.
Patients with long-term inflammation of the stomach such as pernicious anemia are at a higher risk of developing stomach cancer. Exposure to helicobacter pylori infection can also cause stomach inflammation and peptic ulcers and increase the risk. Additional risk factors include poor diet, obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking, and family history.