Stomach cancer is one of the most dangerous oncological diseases, as it is usually diagnosed during the later stages. Therefore it leaves little time for the patient to recover. More than 50% of the people who suffer from this disease die within a year after being diagnosed.
Nowadays stomach cancer is considered to be the most common malignant tumour in the world, though there is a tendency to that this illness is decreasing.
Stomach cancer has a various causes around the world, which proves that lifestyle and environmental conditions are a great influence on the possible onset of cancer.
Risk factors of the disease include:
Low acidity can be named one of the most powerful risk factors. It increases the likelihood of gastric cancer by 5 times.
In the early stages of the disease there are usually no symptoms, or they are mild. Among the first signs of cancer are:
Subsequently, additional symptoms appear which depend on the location of the tumour process:
These are followed by symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, including blood. The tumour may spread into nearby organs (spleen, different sections of the intestine, oesophagus, diaphragm, pancreas, kidneys, adrenal glands), which is accompanied by the corresponding clinical manifestations.
The main diagnostics methods are instrumental investigations. If stomach cancer is suspected; patients are examined using the following examinations:
Fluoroscopy. The patient drinks a liquid (contrast medium). Then, with the help of an X-ray the doctor assess the state of the stomach in real time.
Gastroscopy is the endoscopic method of research, which involves obtaining a biopsy for cytological and histological examination of the tumour. It is taken from 3-4 sites of the gastric mucosa.
Ultrasound and CT are non-invasive diagnostic methods that help to detect metastases and to evaluate the nature of the tumour growth.
Laparoscopy assumes the penetration into the abdominal cavity and identifies places of the pathological process which are not available for the diagnosis using noninvasive techniques.
Surgery is the main treatment method if stomach cancer was diagnosed. The choice of the operation type is done on the basis of the extent of the pathological process, its location, tumour size, metastases presence, the growth of the formation into the neighbouring structures.
Following types of operations are used:
Gastric cancer assumes not only radical, but also palliative surgery. Resection of the stomach may well be carried out, even if the tumour has already given metastasis to the liver, lymph nodes or other structures. Palliative surgery can improve the patient's quality of life.
Not only can the stomach be removed in the process, but other organs also, depending on the clinical situation (e.g., spleen, liver, portion of the small intestine). Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also used, but they are complementary therapies, having a minimal impact on survival.
The latest treatment techniques are actively used for the stomach cancer treatment. Medicine is developing and there are new medications or methods of influence on the malignant cells appearing every year.
Polyadenylic acid and the polyuridylic acid are used for the immunotherapy of the cancer. According to the Korean research, it helps to lengthen the patient’s life, increasing the remission period after the surgery.
Blockers of the epidermal receptor of the growth factor are new drugs for targeted therapy to block a protein that stimulates the growth of cancer cells.
HER2 factor blockers. They are used for targeted therapy. They target and impact only cancer cells, as they have of the high content of protein on the surface. There are already drugs in this group, which have been clinically tested and approved for the treatment of advanced gastric cancer.
Intraperitoneal immunotherapy is appointed in the case of peritoneal carcinomatosis. The goal of treatment is removal of ascites (accumulation of large amounts of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Treatment is carried out by intraperitoneal administration of monoclonal antibodies.
Prognosis for the stomach cancer is negative what is connected with the late reference of the patients. General five-year-survival is about 15%
Nevertheless, thanks to the improved methods of treatment for stomach cancer a significant decrease in the mortality from this disease has been experienced in the last years. Mostly, the prognosis depends on the stage, when the tumour was detected.
Five-year-survival according to stages of the illness:
According to the above statistics, the survival is high enough for the first stages of the illness. But more than 90% of stomach cancer cases are diagnosed only on the stage 3 or 4, that’s why the general five-year-survival is still on a very low level.
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