Cancer of the Stomach
Stomach cancer results from the growth of malignant cells in the lining of the stomach. The incidence of stomach cancer in the United States has decreased dramatically in the last 50 years. The decline may be attributed to increased use of refrigeration for food storage and preservation, instead of relying on foods that are smoked, salted, dried, or pickled. Eating foods chemically preserved with nitrates may also increase the risk of developing stomach cancer. Low consumption of whole fruits and fresh vegetables may also raise the risk of getting cancer of the stomach. The high risk age group for developing stomach cancer is 50 to 59 years old.
The early symptoms of stomach cancer are easy to ignore. They include indigestion and loss of appetite, which could be dismissed as minor symptoms of a less threatening disorder. Many people believe these symptoms will go away over time. Later symptoms include severe pain in the upper abdomen, weight loss, frequent vomiting, and blood in the stool. Weakness and fatigue become pronounced during later stage symptoms. At this point, a person needs to come to our office to be seen by me and our medical team.
Diagnosis begins with a full patient history and a comprehensive physical examination. The next step is a gastroscopy; a procedure that uses a gastroscope (a thin, flexible viewing tube) is passed through the throat and into the stomach. At the same time, a biopsy of the stomach lining is taken. If the biopsy shows cancerous cells, a patient may be sent for an upper GI barium study to support a diagnosis of stomach cancer. This procedure involves having the patient swallow a solution containing barium sulfate. The mixture coats the stomach and an x-ray can reveal a tumor if one is present.
If a tumor is imaged and determined to be cancerous, then cutting it out is the best treatment, assuming the tumor is small and well defined. Larger or multiple tumors involve removing greater portions of the stomach and the surrounding lymph nodes. If the entire organ is compromised, then based on our research and clinical experience, it has to be removed completely in order to prevent cancer from spreading to other organs. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are administered before and after surgical removal of the stomach. For full-blown stomach cancer, conditions for patients undergoing aggressive chemotherapy, radiation, and surgical therapies can be challenging.
Please contact Dr. Aldoroty's office to learn more about all of the individualized, complete, and advanced medical procedures available to meet your healthcare needs.
For your convenience, his office is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m., and by appointment.