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Gastric Cancer

The exact cause of gastric cancer, which forms in tissues lining the stomach, is unknown, but there are certain risk factors that may contribute to why one person develops the disease and another does not. Risk factors for gastric cancer are: age, sex, race, diet, helicobacter pylori infection, smoking, certain health problems, and family history.

Early stomach cancer often does not cause clear symptoms, but as the cancer grows the most common symptoms are discomfort in the stomach area, feeling full or bloated after a small meal, nausea and vomiting, and weight loss. If you have some of the above symptoms that suggest stomach cancer your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist, who specializes in diagnosing and treating digestive problems. The physician will obtain your personal and family health history. Additional blood or other lab tests may be done along with a physical exam, upper GI series that consists of x-rays of your esophagus and stomach, endoscopy, and biopsy. Through a biopsy the tissue is sent to a pathologist to check the tissue for cancer cells.

Once diagnosis of gastric cancer is confirmed the doctor needs to know the extent or stage of the disease. Additional tests may be ordered to check this. Blood tests, chest x-rays, CT scan, endoscopic ultrasound, or laparoscopy may be used to determine stage. Treatment options depend mainly on the size and place of the tumor, the stage of disease, and your general health. Treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. After diagnosis, a treatment plan that is best for you will be decided up on by you and your physician.

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