If you need stomach cancer help including symptoms, diagnosis, surgery and chemotherapy treatments, 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...
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 adenocarcinoma 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:
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:
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:
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.
The type of 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 stomach cancer 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:
You can read more about all these different treatments and much more in the treatment section.
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:
You can read more about this in the stage 4 stomach cancer section.
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 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.
If you would like to find out more about me, Dr Peter Thatcher 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. You can also leave you story in for other visitors to read an learn from in the stomach cancer patient stories section. There's also a cancer resources section with some helpful links to other sites of interest.
All the best
Dr Peter Thatcher
NHS Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist and Author of The Art Of Eating Without A Stomach