Learn more about stomach cancer here. How can what enzyme is in the stomach help you? What Are the Key Statistics About Stomach Cancer? What’s New in Stomach Cancer Research and Treatment? Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control.
Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can spread to other areas of the body. To understand stomach cancer, it helps to know about the normal structure and function of the stomach. After food is chewed and swallowed, it enters the esophagus, a tube that carries food through the throat and chest to the stomach. The stomach is a sac-like organ that holds food and starts to digest it by secreting gastric juice. Doctors would call this symptom abdominal pain, because the stomach is only one of many organs in the abdomen. The stomach has 2 curves, which form its inner and outer borders. Other organs next to the stomach include the colon, liver, spleen, small intestine, and pancreas. The innermost layer is the mucosa.
This is where stomach acid and digestive enzymes are made. Most stomach cancers start in this layer. Next is a supporting layer called the submucosa. Outside of this is the muscularis propria, a thick layer of muscle that moves and mixes the stomach contents. As a cancer grows from the mucosa into deeper layers, the stage becomes more advanced and the prognosis is not as good. Stomach cancers tend to develop slowly over many years. These early changes rarely cause symptoms and therefore often go undetected. Cancers starting in different sections of the stomach may cause different symptoms and tend to have different outcomes. The cancer’s location can also affect the treatment options.
For example, cancers that start at the GE junction are staged and treated the same as cancers of the esophagus. A cancer that starts in the cardia of the stomach but then grows into the GE junction is also staged and treated like a cancer of the esophagus. These are cancers of the immune system tissue that are sometimes found in the wall of the stomach. The treatment and outlook depend on the type of lymphoma. Although GISTs can be found anywhere in the digestive tract, most are found in the stomach. Most of these tumors do not spread to other organs. Other types of cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma, and leiomyosarcoma, can also start in the stomach, but these cancers are very rare.
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing. Gunderson LL, Donohue JH, Alberts SR, Ashman JB, Jaroszewski DE. Armitage, JO, Doroshow, JH, Kastan, MB, Tepper, JE, eds. American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material.
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