Stomach cancer is a gastrointestinal cancer that starts in the stomach lining. Early detection and treatment of stomach cancer can increase the chances of successful treatment.
What are the risk factors and symptoms of stomach cancer?
These risk factors of stomach cancer give you a higher likelihood of being diagnosed, but do not guarantee it.
- Age older than 50
- Diet high in salted or smoked foods
- Family history of stomach cancer
- History of Helicobacter pylori infection
- Male gender
- History of certain conditions
- Smoking and alcohol use
Symptoms of stomach cancer often don’t show until it has progressed into cancerous stages, and these signs can sometimes mimic other sources of digestive distress.
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Anemia, low red blood cell count
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Loss of appetite or feeling full or bloated after small amounts of food
- Nausea or vomiting that may be bloody
- Unintended or unexplained weight loss
- Vague discomfort in the abdomen
- Weakness or fatigue
Which screenings can be used to detect stomach cancer?
Your primary care provider won’t recommend regular screenings for stomach cancer unless you have a family history or are experiencing some of the risk factors listed above. Because of this, stomach cancer is usually diagnosed after you start exhibiting symptoms.
- Barium X-ray has a person drink a liquid containing barium—a silvery metal—which makes the stomach and intestines visible on X-rays.
- Blood test
- Computed tomography (CT) scans
What is used to treat stomach cancer?
The stage of the cancer plays a significant role in the recommended treatment plan. Your primary care provider may recommend one or more of the following treatment options.
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
The multidisciplinary team at St. Joseph Health—consisting of oncologists, primary care providers, radiologists, and other specialists—works with patients to recommend a treatment plan customized to their specific situation. Talk to your primary care provider for more information.