Gastric cancer also called stomach cancer is an abnormal growth of cells that begins in the stomach. It can affect any part of the stomach.
The stomach is a muscular J-shaped sac located in the upper part of the abdomen. It receives and holds food. It also aids the breakdown and digestion of food. Gastric cancer is one of the most common cancer globally, with over 1 million cases every year.
Mutation in the DNA of stomach cells causes gastric cancer. Meanwhile, the exact cause of the mutation is unclear. Research has revealed several factors that can increase the risk of gastric cancer. They are obesity, stomach polyps, gastritis, family history, smoking, alcohol, gastroesophageal reflux disease, radiation, Epstein-Barr Virus, gastric ulcer, diet and gastric surgery.
Types of gastric cancers are adenocarcinomas, neuroendocrine tumours, lymphomas and gastrointestinal stromal tumours. Symptoms of gastric cancers are difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, fatigue, heartburn, feeling bloated after eating, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and weight loss.
Several methods of diagnosing gastric cancers are upper endoscopy, biopsy, endoscopic ultrasound, and radiologic tests. The laboratory tests that aid in the early detection of gastric cancer are complete blood test, liver function test and nutrition panels (Vitamin D and Iron). Early diagnosis of gastric cancer helps in treatment.
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