"ABOUT YOUR Stomach Cancer "

If you need stomach cancer help including causes, diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, awareness and survival rates, qualified help is here! Hello, I'm Dr Peter Thatcher an NHS consultant physician and gastroenterologist in the UK with a particular interest in this condition.  When looking for help with this disease it is important to get accurate and reliable information. So as a senior physician, with both personal as well as professional experience of this type of tumor and its management, you know that you're in good hands.

When first faced with this diagnosis it's only natural to look for more information about the disease. So let's start right now with some background information about the disease...

What Is Stomach Cancer?

Stomach Cancer Picture

The term "cancer" is used when the malignant growth arises from a group of abnormally dividing cells in your body. In this case, the abnormal cells arise from the lining of your stomach. It is called gastric carcinoma by doctors and health care professionals, gastric meaning "stomach" and carcinoma (pronounced car-sin-oma) carcino being the greek word for the karkinos crab (because these malignancies look like crabs as they spread) and oma meaning tumour or growth.

It is particularly common if you:

  • Are over the age of 55 years
  • Are Male
  • Smoke
  • Have A Family History
  • Are Blood Group A
  • Have An Infection Called Helicobacter pylori
  • Eat A Lot of Salted or Pickled Foods
  • Have  A Raw Fish Diet

What Are The Symptoms?

There are many symptoms, some of which are common to most of us and ones that you probably recognise in yourself. Because some of these are common to all of us, it makes diagnosing the disease difficult in the earlier stages. Below I've listed some of the more common ones for you: 

  • A new onset of heartburn or Indigestion

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Early satiety or feeling full too early when eating meals
  • Bloating
  • Dysphagia or a feeling of food sticking
  • Regurgitating or vomiting food
  • Tiredness
  • Have black stools or bowel motions

If you would like to learn more about some of the early and late signs and symptoms of the disease, just click here.

How is It Diagnosed?

An Ulcerated Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer is diagnosed from the group of symptoms you have and also thorough investigations your doctor will arrange, the most important of these being an endoscopy. This is a flexible camera examination where the endoscopist can visualize your tumor by passing a thin camera through your mouth and down the food pipe or esophagus into your stomach. They can then take biopsies or pieces of tissue to confirm the diagnosis.

Other investigations may include:

  • CT scans
  • Ultrasound
  • X-rays
  • MRI
  • Blood tests

The earlier the diagnosis is made the more likely you are to be successfully treated for the tumor, so if you haven't been diagnosed yet or are worrying about cancer, do go to your doctor without delay to get this checked. If you would like further information about the various investigations you may need, do look at the diagnosis section

How Is It Treated?

The type of stomach cancer treatment offered depends on what form of tumor you have and the stage of your disease.

The most common form is an adenocarcinoma which arises from glandular cells which in the lining. These tumors are sometimes referred to as gastric carcinomas by doctors. You can read more about the various types of tumor here.

Treatment normally involves surgery, particularly when there is no evidence of tumor spread which gives you the best possible chance for surviving the condition.

Other treatments that may be offered include:

  • Chemotherapy 
  • Radiotherapy

You can read more about all these different treatments and much more in the treatment section

What Happens In More Advanced Disease?

If your disease is more advanced (when doctors are unable to cure your tumor) you will likely be offered palliative care which involves helping you with your physical symptoms as well as the emotional support you and your family may need.

The main forms of paliative care include:

  • Palliative chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Stenting of your tumor
  • Pain relief
  • Hollistic or complimentary treatments
  • Psychological support

You can read more about this in the stage 4 section

What Is The Prognosis?

Prognosis is really another word used by specialists for survival. Chances of survival depend on how advanced your disease is or the "stage" of your disease. The earlier your stage, the more likely you are to survive stomach cancer and is determined by the length of time you have had the disease and how far the disease has spread. 

You can find out more about this in the prognosis section

Need More Information?

If  you would like to find out more about me or any anyother aspects of the disease it important do take your time to look through the website, which is packed full of free information for you. If you're looking for very specific information, take a look at the the sitemap for quick reference. If you can't find what you're looking for, would like advice or just want to leave a comment its easy to do. Each page on this website gives you the option to do so at the bottom of the page. You can also leave you story in for other visitors to read an learn from in the patient stories section. There's also a stomach cancer resources section with some helpful links to other sites of interest.

All the best

Peter

Dr Peter Thatcher

NHS Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist

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