Stomach cancer

Stomach is located under the left dome of the diaphragm with an average volume of one litre. But, it can hold up to three litres, continuing into the duodenum.

What causes stomach cancer

Stomach cancer starts with progressive cancer cell changes in the gastric mucous membrane. Other malignant tumours rarely develop in the stomach, such as lymphoma, which forms from lymphoid tissue, or sarcoma arising from connective tissue.

What are the symptoms?

  • No typical symptoms appear within the early stages of stomach cancer.
  • Later, upper abdominal pain, feeling full after small portions of food and occasional nausea or vomiting might manifest.
  • Weight loss and overall tiredness are frequent.
  • When the tumour spreads through lymphatic vessels, one can feel the enlarged lymphatic nodes (mainly over the left collarbone – Virchow’s node).
  • Cancer can cause bleeding into the stomach, thus vomiting blood in advanced stages.
  • If digested blood from the stomach goes through the tract, the stool has black-ish colour.
  • Long-term blood loss leads to anaemia development with symptoms such as tiredness, feeling weak and sometimes breathlessness.

These symptoms might be due to a different non-cancerous disease, and the stomach tumour can be asymptomatic for a long time. See your GP when having any doubts.

If the stool has a black-ish colour due to digested blood and a characteristic smell, see them as soon as possible.

In terms of the world, stomach cancer is the 5th most diagnosed cancer, and 1300 Czechs get it yearly. It mainly concerns people over 70, especially men.

What are the risk factors?

The most common risk factors for stomach cancer include:

  • Helicobacter pylori infection and other long-term inflammatory conditions
  • Excessive smoked meat and salt consumption
  • Vitamin A and C deficiency
  • Smoking
  • Genetics

Prevention of stomach cancer

  • Avoid oversalting meals and salty food consumption.
  • Cut down on smoked meats, which are also oversalted.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Do not smoke.
  • See your GP.

What’s the treatment?

Depending on the size and stage of the tumour, surgical treatment, chemotherapy or radiation are chosen. It’s common to combine these. The prognosis is unfortunately unfavourable due to the condition’s asymptomatic nature.


What is cancer?

You can imagine cancer as an “out of control” cell multiplication, which can occur in any organ of your body. 
This affected organ can then grow and push other organs out of their location or even lose its function.

Depending on the severity, we talk about:

  • Benign tumors – with clear borders, they don't spread across the body.
  • Malignant tumors – they spread across the body by blood and lymphatic system and form other tumors (metastasis).

How to imagine a stomach?

The stomach is a sac-like hollow organ in the digestive tract placed right under the gullet. Its function lies in digestion through the stomach walls' movement and chemical breakdown with gastric juice.

What can affect the stomach?

  • Peptic ulcer disease is the most common condition which develops from specific pain-killer abuse or blood clotting medication. Helicobacter pylori infection might impact peptic ulcer development.
  • Inflammation – just like anywhere else in the body. Polyps are growths of tissue on the mucous membrane, sometimes predicting cancer.
  • And last but not least – cancer.

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