Gastric cancer is a very serious disease characterized by uncontrolled reproduction of abnormal cells. This pathology is several times more often diagnosed in men, and at the age after 50 years. In this article, we will talk about how gastric cancer develops (symptoms and manifestation of the disease in the early stages), as well as about what treatments modern medicine offers.
Cancer of the stomach is a disease of the oncological nature, which is distinguished by the development of a malignant neoplasm from the epithelium of the mucous membrane. A tumor can form in any parts of this organ. The risk of getting sick is significantly increased both in men and in women after 50 years. As for the issue of the geographical spread of this pathology, in Russia this disease is on the second place in the frequency of diagnosis among all tumors of malignant nature. So, for 100 thousand healthy people there are approximately 36 patients. Worse situation is only in Japan, Scandinavia and Brazil.
According to experts, circumstances have changed dramatically over the past 30 years. Doctors note a gradual decrease in the incidence of cancer. For example, in America this pathology is diagnosed relatively rarely (only five cases per 100 thousand of the population).
Today, scientists have proved that in an absolutely healthy stomach, oncology can not arise. The disease is always preceded by the so-called precancerous stage, when there is a change in the nature of the cells lining the inside of this organ. On average, this condition lasts from 10 to about 20 years.
Symptoms of stomach cancer in the early stages can be confused with gastritis or ulcers. Initially, a small tumor is formed. Over time, it can grow in size, expand in depth and breadth. At this stage, the disease manifests itself in the form of a violation of normal digestion. As a consequence, a person begins to lose weight without cause. Sprouting through the walls of the stomach, the tumor can move to other organs (large intestine, pancreas).
The disease is characterized by the early appearance of metastases (separation of cancer cells from the tumor and their further spread throughout the body). They most often affect the lymph nodes and liver. Also, the pathological process may involve lungs, bones, peritoneal space, ovaries. Gradually, the work of all affected organs changes, which entails a fatal outcome.
At present, the exact causes provoking the development of the disease have not been studied to the end. Specialists only identify a set of factors, the effect of which in combination leads to the formation of cancer.
- Bacteria Helicobacter pylori. Scientists have long proven that this bacterium is able not only to survive well in an acidic environment, but also be the cause of peptic ulcer and gastritis. As medical practice shows, sometimes these pathologies degenerate into cancer. Helicobacter pylori gradually deforms the mucous organ, hydrochloric acid begins to affect unprotected stomach walls, causing numerous erosion. This kind of ulceration is considered an excellent medium for the life of cancer cells.
- Unhealthy food. The presence in the diet of fried, fatty, spicy and salty foods several times increases the likelihood of developing a malignant neoplasm.
- The presence of nitrates and nitrites in the body. It is assumed that these substances have a high chemical activity. They can disrupt the habitual integrity of the cells of the gastric mucosa and penetrate into their structure. The source of nitrates and nitrites in the territory of our country, as a rule, are vegetables. In addition, salts of nitrogenous and nitric acid in large quantities are contained in smoked products, some cheeses, tobacco, beer.
- Bad habits. In addition to the fact that nitrates and nitrites are also present in high-dose beverages, ethyl alcohol can act as a provocateur of malignant tumors. Scientists have proved that the longer a person smokes, the more likely that the symptoms of stomach and intestinal cancer will be detected at a young age.
- Long-term use of medicines. Antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids - all these medicines have a number of side effects, including the development of gastric ulcers. As you know, it can grow into a real tumor.
- Impact of radiation.
People with excessive body weight, hereditary predisposition and other oncological diseases also belong to the risk group.
What diseases can precede stomach cancer?
- Anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency. This vitamin plays a direct role in the formation of many cells of the body.
- Polyps of the stomach.
- Some subspecies of chronic gastritis (atrophic form, Menetries disease, etc.).
- Stomach ulcer. According to specialists, in 12% of cases this pathology grows into a stomach cancer.
Symptoms and manifestations of the disease
This ailment at the initial stages of development, as a rule, does not have specific features. The patient can feel constant fatigue, complain of fast fatigue and weightless weight loss. After eating, the patient may experience heartburn, a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen, swelling, or even indigestion. Such symptoms of stomach cancer in the early stages (photo patients can be seen in the medical literature) should be the reason for seeking medical advice.
As the disease progresses and the tumor grows, new symptoms may appear:
- Violation of the stool.
- Discomfort in the upper abdomen.
- Fast saturation.
- Increase the size of the abdomen.
- Iron-deficiency anemia.
- Vomiting with impurities of blood.
All of the above signs most often indicate a stomach cancer. Symptoms, manifestations of the disease are not sufficient to confirm the diagnosis, since they can indicate other pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract. It is extremely important to undergo a detailed examination.
Classification of the disease
Based on the cells that underlie the neoplasm, the following types of stomach cancer are distinguished:
- Adenocarcinoma. This is the most common form of the disease. The formation of the tumor occurs on the basis of those cells that are directly responsible for the production of mucus.
- Leiomyosarcoma. The neoplasm consists mainly of the muscle cells of the organ.
- Lymphoma. The tumor is based on lymphatic cells.
- A solid stomach cancer. The photo of this pathology can be seen only in specialized literature, as it is extremely rare.
- Ring-cell carcinoma. Consideration of such a new formation under a microscope allows us to reveal the similarity of forms to the ring, which was the reason for its name. For this form of the disease is characterized by a rapid increase in pathological cells and early metastasis.
Stages of the disease
Today, specialists conditionally identify several stages in the development of pathology, thanks to which it is possible to classify stomach cancer. Symptoms and manifestations of the disease at the initial stages of development may be absent, which significantly complicates its diagnosis.
To predict the treatment of oncology, the term "five-year survival" is widely used. If after the therapy the patient lives 5 years, he can be considered healthy. Such a patient has all the chances that he will never again face this type of cancer.
The overall survival rate for this disease, according to statistics, is 20% among all patients. This relatively low percentage is due to late diagnosis of the disease. However, each case is still individual, whether it is the initial stage of the disease or gastric cancer of the 4th degree with metastases. How many people live with this diagnosis depends primarily on the timeliness of treatment and compliance with all the recommendations of the doctor.
- Zero stage. At this stage, only the gastric mucosa is involved in the pathological process. Treatment is carried out through endoscopic surgery. In 90% of cases, patients recover completely.
- The first stage. The tumor penetrates deeper into the mucous membrane, metastases are formed in the lymph nodes around the stomach. With timely treatment, the probability of recovery is from 60 to 80%.
- The second stage. Neoplasm does not affect only muscle tissue. The five-year survival rate for diagnosis of the disease is 56%.
- The third stage. Pathological cells penetrate the walls of the organ, the lymph nodes are completely affected. With the diagnosis of "stomach cancer, stage 3" life expectancy is low (15 people out of a hundred can live five years or more).
- The fourth stage. A cancerous tumor penetrates deeply not only into the organ itself, but also gives metastases to other parts of the body (pancreas, liver, ovaries, lungs). In this form, the disease is diagnosed in 80% of patients. However, the probability of five years or more is only five people out of a hundred.
Experts warn: even a complete cure for oncology does not in every case have a positive prognosis. The thing is that such a disease has a tendency to relapse, which only occasionally can be removed by repeated surgical intervention. Later, the diagnosis of the disease in our country is very simple. First, many doctors do not have enough knowledge in this field of medicine to confirm the disease in time. Secondly, patients very late seek help, for example, when diagnosed as "stomach cancer, stage 3". How many live such patients? Of course, neglecting one's own health entails worse predictions.
Treatment can be successful only if the specialist at an early stage can confirm the cancer of the stomach. Manifestations of the first signs of the disease should alert and become a reason to seek medical advice from a gastroenterologist.
Today the main method of studying the pathology is gastroscopy (EGDS). During this procedure, the doctor evaluates the general condition of the mucosa, makes a biopsy of suspicious areas. Histological examination of the obtained material allows us to determine the nature of the neoplasm (malignant / benign). Sometimes additionally appointed:
- X-ray examination of the digestive system.
- Ultrasound of the abdominal cavity.
- Biochemical blood test for the detection of anemia.
Is it possible to overcome stomach cancer? Manifestations of a malignant tumor, the presence of metastases, the size of the neoplasm, the extent of its growth into neighboring regions - all these factors primarily determine the tactics of therapeutic measures. Modern medicine offers three options for treating this type of pathology: tumor removal through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The specific tactics of treatment are chosen by the doctor after a complete examination of the patient.
In the case of early diagnosis of the tumor (zero or first stage), when there is no metastasis, complete excision of the cancerous tumor is possible. During surgery, the doctor removes a portion of the stomach wall, nearby tissues, as well as lymph nodes.
Radiation therapy is recommended to stop the growth of pathological cells and reduce the size of the tumor itself. To chemotherapy have to resort to the diagnosis of "stomach cancer of 4 degrees with metastases." How many patients live after the course of treatment, to say exactly, unfortunately, can not. Very often doctors prescribe together radiation and chemotherapy to enhance the positive effect.
Of course, with this diagnosis, special attention should be paid not only to the therapy itself, but also to the daily diet. Experts advise to avoid products that contain nitrates. The thing is that these substances are able to degenerate into nitrites and form nitrosamines. The latter, in turn, often act as the main cause of the development of stomach cancer. The formation of nitrosamines can be prevented by the regular consumption of foods with antioxidants, vitamins C and E. In addition, the daily diet of a patient with such a diagnosis should include food with a low glycemic index. Such products are slowly digested, help maintain a stable level of sugar in the blood.
This article has already listed the main methods of how to diagnose stomach cancer in the early stages. After the doctor confirmed the presence of the disease and prescribed appropriate treatment, the question arises as to how to eat. The diet of the patient should be as balanced as possible and rich in vitamins. It is recommended to eat fruits and vegetables (preferably in raw form), chicken and low-fat fish (a source of protein).
We'll have to give up all fatty and roast, sweets and baked goods, red meat gets under the ban. As agreed with a doctor, you can exclude salt from the diet. The thing is that its consumption in large amounts contributes to the formation of ulcers on the walls already weakened by the treatment of the stomach.
Prognosis and prevention
Gastric cancer (photos of patients with such a disease are presented in this article) is most often diagnosed at the stage of an incurable tumor. Only in 40% of cases the doctors detect a tumor, in which there is a probability of a successful prognosis of the cure. Here we are talking about the disease in the early stages and without metastases. A rapid course of pathology is most often found in the diagnosis of "stomach cancer, stage 3". The life expectancy of such patients and their general condition are practically the same as those in the case of disease of the fourth stage. In both situations, the prognosis for patients is extremely unfavorable.
Surgical treatment, together with various methods of antitumor therapy, gives a five-year survival rate in 12% of patients. If the symptoms of stomach cancer in the early stages were seen by the patients themselves, and they immediately turned to a doctor for help, the survival rate increases to 70%.
With regard to the issue of prevention, the experts today strongly recommend timely treatment of all ailments, lead a healthy lifestyle and eat right. In addition, it is very important to exclude bad habits, with special attention to taking medications.
In conclusion, it should be noted that today, gastric cancer is increasingly diagnosed. Symptoms and manifestations of this disease should be an occasion for consultation with a specialist. The sooner the doctor confirms the pathology and prescribes appropriate treatment, the higher the chances of a favorable prognosis. Lost time or inattention to one's own organism often costs a person's life.