Stomach cancer is a common cancer in Hong Kong. According to statistics, nearly 1,200 people are diagnosed each year, killing more than 700 people. Stomach cancer usually begins in the mucus-producing cells that line the stomach. This type of cancer is called adenocarcinoma.
Signs and Symptoms
- Feeling bloated after eating
- Feeling full after eating small amounts of food
- Severe, persistent heartburn
- Severe indigestion that is always present
- Unexplained, persistent nausea
- Stomach pain
- Persistent vomiting
- Unintentional weight loss
A thin tube containing a tiny camera is passed down your throat and into your stomach. Your doctor can look for signs of cancer. If any suspicious areas are found, a piece of tissue can be collected for analysis (biopsy).
Imaging tests used to look for stomach cancer include computerized tomography (CT) scans, positron emission tomography (PET) scan, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and a special type of X-ray exam sometimes called a barium swallow.
At this stage, the tumor is limited to the top layer of tissue that lines the inside of the esophagus or stomach. Cancer cells also may have spread to a limited number of nearby lymph nodes.
The cancer at this stage has spread deeper, growing into a deeper muscle layer of the esophagus or stomach wall. Cancer may also have spread to more of the lymph nodes.
At this stage, the cancer may have grown through all the layers of the esophagus or stomach and spread to nearby structures. Or it may be a smaller cancer that has spread more extensively to the lymph nodes.
This stage indicates that the cancer has spread to distant areas of the body.
The goal of surgery is to remove all of the cancer and a margin of healthy tissue, when possible. Nearby lymph nodes are typically removed as well.
Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams of energy, such as X-rays to kill cancer cells. The energy beams come from a machine that moves around you as you lie on a table.
Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs to kill cancer cells and stop them from growing and dividing. There are drugs for oral administration and intravenous injection (injection of drugs into the bloodstream through a vein), mainly after surgery treatment (adjuvant chemotherapy), aiming at preventing recurrence and enhancing the survival rate after surgery. Chemotherapy can be given before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) to help shrink a tumor so that it can be more easily removed. Chemotherapy is often combined with radiation therapy. Chemotherapy may be used alone in people with advanced stomach cancer to help relieve signs and symptoms.
Targeted therapy uses drugs that attack specific abnormalities within cancer cells or that direct your immune system to kill cancer cells.
- Being overweight or obese
- A diet high in smoked, pickled, or salty foods
- Stomach surgery for an ulcer
- Type-A blood
- Epstein-Barr virus infection
- Certain genes
- Working in coal, metal, timber, or rubber industries
- Exposure to asbestos
- Family history
- High fibre intake
- Reduce the amount of salty and smoked foods
- Stop smoking