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Listed as the 5th most common cancer on a global scale, stomach cancer is a malignancy that results from the excessive growth and multiplication of the cells lining the stomach. This is also referred to as gastric cancer. The stomach forms a part of the digestive system and is responsible for storing the food that we eat and breaking it down for digestion. The cancer can be further categorized into different types, depending upon the area of the stomach that has been affected, and is most likely to develop in the gastroesophageal junction.
The symptoms associated with stomach cancer include:
Though it is not yet known what causes stomach cancer, it is believed to be a result of undesirable genetic mutations in the DNA of the cells lining the stomach. This causes the cells to divide uncontrollably, and gradually replace all the healthy cells and tissues.
Various factors that are likely to elevate your risks of developing stomach cancer include:
Surgery - Surgical interventions are performed with the goal of removing the cancer and the affected tissues. There are several different approaches that can be used to carry out the surgery. These are:
Chemotherapy - It involves the intravenous or oral administration of certain drugs that target and kill the cancerous cells. These may be given before the surgery to shrink the tumour and make it easier to extract it, or after the surgery to target the cancerous cells that have been left intact during the surgery.
Radiation therapy - It involves the use of high energy radiations emitted by X rays or protons. The help to target the cancer cells externally or from within the patient's body.
Targeted drug therapy - These treatments especially curated to target specific weaknesses in the cancerous cells, which eventually causes them to die. These are often combined with chemotherapy to address advanced stomach cancers.
Immunotherapy - This involves the use of special drugs that boost the patient's immune system and help it to fight cancerous cells. This is usually recommended when stomach cancer has reached an advanced stage.