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Gastro-Intestinal and Hepato-Biliary Cancer

Stomach is an important part of human digestive system. It is the organ where food from esophagus lands and collects. It is further acidified using stomach acid, vigorously crushed and transferred to small intestine for further process of digestion. Abnormal and uncontrolled growth in the inner cells of stomach is called stomach or gastric cancer.

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In India, 58000 new cases of stomach or gastric cancer are diagnosed every year. High level starvation of deficiency of adequate nutrition happen in case of stomach cancer because of which patient's physical health deteriorates very fast and often we see poor results in such stomach cancer patients despite good treatment.

Most common symptoms of stomach cancer are as follows.

  1. Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  2. Drastic weight loss
  3. Indigestion (dyspepsia) that doesn't go away
  4. Feeling full after eating small amounts
  5. Bloating stomach even after small quantity of food
  6. Consistent inflammation of stomach
  7. Consistent / frequent pain in the stomach
  8. Feeling or being sick

These symptoms can also be related to other disease of stomach like stomach ulcer. It is important to know that stomach ulcers that do not heal properly can develop into stomach cancer.
Factors that increase the risk of stomach cancer are as follows.

  1. Helicobacter Pylori Virus- Infection of H. Pylori is responsible for 40% of stomach cancer cases. This infection of H. Pylori is also responsible for chronic ulcers of stomach.
  2. Age- Risk of stomach cancer increases with age
  3. Smoking or Alcohol- Both habits subject consumers to high risk of developing stomach cancer.
  4. Poor dietary habits- Lack of fruits in diet, eating red meat, avoiding fibrous food, eating food with high salt content can cause stomach cancer.
  5. Body weight- Body weight higher than require body mass in relation to height of individual in risk factor for many disease including stomach cancer.

Stomach cancer treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation alone, in sequence or in combination depending on stage of stomach cancer. Surgery is performed in early stages of cancer with curative intent whereas surgery is also done in case of stage 4 disease or advanced stomach cancer where passage of stomach is blocked and cancer needs to be downsized with surgical intervention so the food can pass and patient can get some relief from pain as well.
Endoscopic mucosal resection is performed to removal lining of stomach affected by cancer. Depending on extent of cancer, complete or partial removal (Total or subtotal gastrectomy) of parts of cancer can be done.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy also plays and important role in stomach cancer treatment.