Learn About Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer, which is also referred to as gastric cancer, originates in the stomach cells. There are different types of stomach cancer, and each grows in different parts of the stomach.

Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of stomach cancer. Other types of stomach cancer include lymphomas, gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), and carcinoid tumors.

Stomach cancer, a kind of gastrointestinal cancer, most often occurs in older people — about 60 percent of diagnosed patients are older than 64.

Learn more about stomach cancer causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

State-of-the-Art Stomach Cancer Treatment

Together with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, we are the state’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, meeting the highest standards in cancer research, treatment, prevention and education in the nation. We offer the most advanced treatment options, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and access to clinical trials, many of which are not available elsewhere.

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New Jersey’s Largest Network of Cancer Specialists

We offer access to New Jersey’s largest network of cancer specialists, including nationally and internationally recognized oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, advanced practice nurses and oncology support professionals with advanced credentials in cancer specialty care with expertise in gastrointestinal cancers.

Oncology Nurse Navigators Guide You

Nurse navigators help secure appointments, coordinate follow-up visits related to treatments and procedures, and guide you through aspects of survivorship.

To schedule an appointment with one of New Jersey’s best gastrointestinal cancer specialists, call 844-CANCERNJ or 844-226-2376.

What Causes Stomach Cancer?

The cause of stomach cancer is still being researched. There are, however, many known risk factors.

A risk factor is anything that increases your chances of getting a disease. Some risk factors can be changed and others cannot.

Stomach cancer risk factors include:

  • Gender (more common in men than women)
  • Age (more common in older people)
  • Ethnicity (more common in Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, and Asian/Pacific Islanders)
  • Geography (more common in East Asia, Eastern Europe, and South and Central America)
  • Helicobacter pylori infection
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Alcohol use
  • Tobacco use
  • Previous stomach surgery
  • Some types of stomach polyps
  • Inherited cancer syndromes
  • Familial history of stomach cancer
  • Common variable immune deficiency (CVID)
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection
  • Certain occupations (coal, metal, and rubber industry workers)
  • Having type A blood

Symptoms

Stomach cancer symptoms usually do not present in the early stages of the disease. Stomach cancer symptoms may be vague when they do present, often mimicking symptoms of a stomach virus or ulcer. They may include:

  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Nausea and vomiting, particularly vomiting solid food shortly after eating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Stomach bloating after meals
  • Loss of appetite
  • The sensation of food being stuck in the throat while eating

Advanced stomach cancer symptoms may include:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Vomiting blood
  • Blood in the stool
  • Unexplained weight loss

Patients should make an appointment with their physician if they notice signs of stomach cancer.

Diagnosis

The first step in diagnosing stomach cancer is a medical history and physical examination. The physician will gather important information about your symptoms, analyze your risk factors, and feel your belly for any abnormalities.

If the findings in your medical history and physical examination indicate the potential presence of stomach cancer, your physician may order:

  • Upper endoscopy. The stomach is viewed by inserting a thin, flexible tube with a small camera down the throat.
  • Biopsy. Abnormal tissue is collected and sent to the laboratory to analyze for cancer.
  • Imaging tests. The stomach is viewed in the results of imaging studies, including an upper GI series, CT scan, endoscopic ultrasound, PET scan, MRI, and chest x-ray.

Stomach Cancer Treatment

Stomach cancer treatment options include:

  • Surgery. Surgery may be performed to remove the cancerous tissue or to decrease bleeding and associated symptoms (palliative surgery).
  • Radiation therapy. High-energy radiation is used to kill cancer cells and stop them from returning. External radiation involves radiation from a machine outside of the body. Internal radiation places radioactive substances in the body near cancer.
  • Chemotherapy. Drugs are used to kill cancer cells or stop them from dividing.
  • Targeted drug therapy. Drugs target changes in cells that cause cancer. They sometimes work when chemotherapy does not and they may cause different side effects.
  • Immunotherapy. Uses the body's immune system to locate and attack cancer.

As the leader in cancer treatment in New Jersey, we provide the latest stomach cancer treatment options, leading to improved outcomes for this rare cancer type.

To schedule an appointment with one of New Jersey’s best gastrointestinal cancer specialists, call 844-CANCERNJ or 844-226-2376.

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