Stomach Cancer

The stomach is part of the digestive system. It lies just under the left lung. The top of the stomach joins the bottom of the foodpipe (oesophagus) and the other end is joined to the bowel. Stomach performs a critical role in digestion of food in our body. Uncontrolled cell growth in the inner lining of stomach is called stomach cancer

The most common symptoms of stomach cancer include

Symptoms of early stomach cancer can be similar to the symptoms of other conditions, such as stomach ulcers but it is important that those symptoms are reported to family doctor on a specialist as soon as they are observed or felt so that timely and appropriate diagnosis can be done. Doctors do primary evaluations using endoscopy or other laparoscopic diagnostic techniques and radiology techniques. PET scan alone may not be sufficient in proper staging of cancer hence cancer specialists recommend other tests for accurate diagnosis and identification of right stage of disease before starting treatment.

In India, over 58,000 New cases of Stomach cancer are diagnosed every year and approximately 52,000 Deaths occur due to stomach cancer. This is with reference to data reported by Globocan 2018, an organization that reports cancer incidences, population and deaths in various countries including India. Unfortunately, stomach being a hollow cavity of the body, it allows tumor / cancer to grow to a significant size before it starts producing early symptoms. Hence cases of Stomach cancers are reported in late stages (Stage 3 or 4) in India. At this stage, treating cancer for cure becomes all the more difficult. It is only those who are absolutely conscious about their health are able to report to doctor the smallest disorder or discomfort can detect cancer early.

Surgery is the mainstay of treatment in cancer primarily because high stage cancers/tumors often create obstructions in stomach because of which intake of food is compromised in stomach cancer patients and they are starved badly to significant weakness and hampered quality of life. In order to remove such obstructions, surgery of stomach cancer becomes important and the other treatments follow. Other than surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also critically important treatment options in stomach cancer treatment. ‘Laparoscopic Gastrectomy’ can be performed in cancer surgeries. It is a minimal access surgical procedure in which doctors avoid big / wide incisions on stomach while operating and operate cancers with small incisions with minimal blood loss to patients.