Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Stomach Cancer

What is a Risk Factor?

A risk factor is anything that may increase a person's chance of developing a disease. It may be an activity, such as smoking, diet, family history, or many other things. Different diseases, including cancers, have different risk factors.

Although these factors can increase a person's risk, they do not necessarily cause the disease. Some people with one or more risk factors never develop the disease, while others develop disease and have no known risk factors.

But, knowing your risk factors to any disease can help to guide you into the appropriate actions, including changing behaviors and being clinically monitored for the disease.

What is stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is cancer that starts in any part of the stomach. The stomach is just one of many organs located in the abdomen, the area of the body between the chest and the pelvis. Among other organs found in the abdomen are the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and colon. It is important to differentiate among these organs, because cancers and other diseases that affect them present different symptoms and are treated differently.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 22,400 Americans will be newly diagnosed with stomach cancer during 2003. Most people diagnosed with stomach cancer are in their 60s and 70s.

What causes stomach cancer?

The exact cause of stomach cancer is not known, although there are many risk factors believed to contribute to cells in the stomach becoming cancerous.

What are the risk factors for stomach cancer?

The following are suggested as risk factors for stomach cancer:

What are the symptoms of stomach cancer?

The following are the most common symptoms of stomach cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of stomach cancer may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

How is stomach cancer diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for stomach cancer may include the following:
Illustration demonstrating upper endoscopy, part 1
click image to enlarge

Illustration demonstrating upper endoscopy, part 2
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Illustration demonstrating upper endoscopy, part 3
click image to enlarge

Treatment for stomach cancer:

Specific treatment for stomach cancer will be determined by your physician based on: Treatment for stomach cancer may include:

Sometimes, several of these treatments may be combined to treat stomach cancer.

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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