Treatment of stomach (gastric) cancer in Germany
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.
Causes of Stomach (gastric) cancer
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:
- Helicobacter infection (the causative agent of gastric ulcer and 12 duodenal ulcer)
- Hereditary background
- Consumption of large quantities of smoked food, because it contains carcinogens
- Alcoholism (particularly if hard liquors are used)
- Vitamin C deficiency
- Frequent consumption of salty and spicy food
- Duodenal reflux (throw food from the duodenum into the stomach)
- Operation on the stomach in the last 10 years
Low acidity can be named one of the most powerful risk factors. It increases the likelihood of gastric cancer by 5 times.
Stomach (gastric) cancer - Symptoms
In the early stages of the disease there are usually no symptoms, or they are mild. Among the first signs of cancer are:
- Stomach discomfort
- Pain without clear localization
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Fast fatiguability
- Blood analysis shows hypochromic anaemia
Subsequently, additional symptoms appear which depend on the location of the tumour process:
- For the cancer of the output of the stomach - the stagnation of food and fermentation, which is manifested by discomfort and bad breath
- The localization of the cancer in the fundus of the stomach (the place of anti-anaemic factor production) - pale skin, laboratory symptoms of anaemia
- Body or distal stomach cancer is dominated by the symptoms associated with a decrease in organ size (early satiety, bloating after meals)
- When cancer is in the cardia area (the place of transition from the oesophagus into the stomach) - there are difficulties with the passage of food
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.
Stomach (gastric) cancer - Diagnostics
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.
Treatment of Stomach (gastric) cancer abroad
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:
- Endoscopic electroexcision is applied very rarely, only when the localized cancer is without metastases
- Subtotal resection presupposes the removal of the stomach area
- Gastrectomy means the removal of the entire stomach
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 (innovative) treatment and diagnostics methods of Stomach (gastric) cancer abroad
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.
Stomach (gastric) cancer - Prognosis
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:
- 1 – 80%
- 2 – 56%
- 3a – 38%
- 3b – 15%
- 4 – 5%
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.
Here you can find the cost of treatment for this disease at the German University Hospitals. Leave a request and we will provide a free consultation with a doctor and will start organizing the whole treatment process.
The program includes the following:
- Issuing of an invitation for getting a visa for treatment as quick as possible
- Fixing an appointment at a time convenient for you
- Preliminary organization of a comprehensive examination and discussion of the forthcoming treatment plan
- Arranging transfer from the airport to the hospital and back to the airport
- Provision of interpreting services and services of a personal medical coordinator
- If necessary, assistance in the organization of further surgical treatment
- Provision of a medical insurance against treatment complications covering up to 200,000 euro
- Preparation and translation of medical records and recommendations from the hospital
- Assistance in the subsequent communication with your attending physician, including consultations on repeated X-ray images through the unique medical document management system E-doc