Friday, June 20, 2008

What is stomach cancer?

What is stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer is a form of cancer that can begin anywhere in the stomach. A stomach tumor or other type of stomach cancer occurs when cells in the stomach grow out of control and become tumors. Stomach cancer cells take over healthy cells. They may then spread throughout the stomach and then to other organs and parts of the body, especially the esophagus and small intestine.

Stomach cancer often begins with the development of a benign growth known as a polyp. These polyps may lead to a stomach tumor later on. Also see stomach cancer causes.

Stomach cancer statistics

According to the American Cancer Society,

  • about 21 thousand Americans are diagnosed with stomach cancer annually
  • 13 thousand of these stomach cancer cases will be men
  • 8 thousand stomach cancer cases will be women
  • average age when stomach cancer is diagnosed is 71.
  • about two thirds of stomach cancer cases are diagnosed after age 65.
  • a person's risk of developing stomach cancer in their lifetime in the United States is approximately 1 in 100.
  • Early stage stomach cancer diagnosis results in a 75 percent chance of survival for at least five years. Diagnosis in the late stages usually results in a 30 percent chance.

Stomach cancer used to be the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, but the number of cases has been decreasing in recent years.

Stomach cancer is more common worldwide than in the U.S. There are many more cases in Japan, Korea, Great Britain, South America and Iceland. Japan, in fact, has more than 10 times as many cases as the U.S.. However, native Japanese people who move to the United States and adopt American eating habits develop fewer cases of stomach cancer than people in Japan who eat a typical Japanese diet.

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Stomach cancer risk factors

Researchers have found evidence that diets that include a lot of salt and nitrates probably increase a person's chances of getting stomach cancer.

Despite mounting belief that certain diets may be a factor, there's no medical evidence yet regarding the cause of stomach cancer. But there are some known risk factors, especially in certain industries. People who work in the coal mining, timber, nickel and rubber industries all have high rates of stomach cancer.

People with a family history of stomach cancer also seem to be at higher risk, as do those who have had stomach surgery for ulcers and pernicious anemia.

There's also a specific type of bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori which has often been found in the stomachs of stomach cancer patients.

Stomach tumor and stomach cancer types

Adenocarcinomas appear and develop in the glandular cells of the stomach lining. This is the most common type of stomach cancer.

Soft tissue sarcomas, which are extremely rare. originate from the cells in the muscle layer of the stomach.

Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is another type of sarcoma which originate in the tissues that support the organs of the digestive system. They are also known as GISTs.

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. A MALT lymphoma is the main type to affect the stomach. A MALT lymphoma is also known as a MALToma.

Carcinoid tumor is another type of cancer that can affect the stomach.

Also see: detecting a stomach cancer symptom, stomach cancer treatment, stomach cancer prevention.

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