A primer on gastric cancer

A primer on gastric cancer

Gastric cancer results from the growth of malignant cells in the lining of the stomach. This form of cancer is difficult to detect as there are not many obvious symptoms displayed by the patient in the early stages. Cancer occurs when cells in the upper digestive tract multiply, forming a tumor. Early detection can help in early treatment, leading to complete cure and remission. So, read to know more about gastric cancer.

Causes
The major reason for the occurrence of gastric cancer is a genetic mutation in the cells of the stomach. This triggers the rapid growth of malignant cells that result in the formation of a tumor. There are many risk factor that increases the chances of a person getting the disease. These include the following.

  • H.pylori bacterial infection is a type of stomach infection that can lead to the development of ulcers
  • Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, can also cause gastric cancer
  • Presence of tumors in other parts of the digestive system
  • Consuming high-salt content meals
  • Excess consumption of processed foods or meats
  • Family history
  • Poor lifestyle and lack of exercise
  • A meal plan that doesn’t comprise of sufficient fruits and vegetables

Symptoms

  • Poor appetite accompanied by sudden weight loss
  • Frequent heartburn
  • Vomiting and a feeling of nausea
  • Bloating
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Jaundice
  • Stomach pain that aggravates post meals
  • Early satiety

Treatment
The treatment plan for gastric cancer depends on the stage of cancer. Some of the treatment methods adopted are as follows.

Surgery
This treatment option for gastric cancer involves surgical removal of the cancerous tumor as well as some of the healthy tissue surrounding it. Some of the procedures that could be performed on patients are a subtotal gastrectomy, which is the removal of the part of the stomach that has been affected by cancer and the surrounding healthy tissue. A total gastrectomy is when the entire stomach is removed. In cases the entire stomach needs to be removed, the esophagus is linked to the small intestine to support food movement through the digestive system.

Chemotherapy
Another gastric cancer treatment option is chemotherapy, which is a form of drug treatment involving chemicals that kills cancer cells. The drugs are designed to travel throughout the body and destroy cancer cells that may travel beyond the stomach. This treatment option is most often used in combination with radiation therapy for advanced stages.

Radiation therapy
This treatment option is used to reduce the size of the tumor before surgery so that it can be removed easily. The therapy involves the use of high-powered energy beams such as protons and X-rays.

Immunotherapy
In this treatment option, certain drugs are used to help the immune system fight off cancer.

Targeted drug therapy
This treatment option focuses on dealing with specific weaknesses in the malignant cells. The drugs block these weaknesses so that the cells get destroyed.

Meal plan
Nutrition plays a significant role in combating any type of disease, and gastric cancer is no exception. Some of the foods that should be included in the meal plan of patients are as follows.

Turmeric
This spice contains a chemical known as curcumin, which has strong anti-cancer properties and aids in destroying cancer cells in the body.

Garlic
Allicin, a substance found in garlic and onion, has proven to be very effective in fighting off cancer.

Quercetin-rich foods
Adding a sufficient amount of fruits such as oranges, cherries, apples, and vegetables such as onions and broccoli to meals can help in averting this form of cancer. These foods are rich in quercetin, reducing the risk of cancer.

Protein-rich foods
The role of protein is immense when it comes to repairing cells and tissues in the body. Protein also aids in boosting the immune system, which helps with quick recovery. A few good sources of lean protein are beans, soy food, eggs, and fish.