Gastric Cancer

Overview of Gastric Cancer

Gastric cancer is an abnormal growth of gastric cells that are surrounded by the stomach wall. It does not identify at early stages of cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Gastric Cancer

Gastric cancer also known as (Meday ka sartan/  معدے کا سرطان ) is an abnormal replication of gastric cancer cells produced in the lining of the stomach. It is also called stomach cancer.
Gastric cancer is slow-growing cancer and difficult to diagnose because of not appearing any symptoms at the earlier stages.

Prevalence of Gastric Cancer

Gastric cancer is the 4th most common cancer among all and 2nd leading cause of death worldwide. About 6 out of 10 cases were reported with gastric cancer over the age of people 65 years.
In Pakistan, the incidence rate of gastric cancer accounts for as low as 1.4% and as high as 1.8% in people.
People with stomach cancer recover at the early stages. The average survival rate is about 30% of people who can survive with this cancer for at least about 5 years.

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Types of Gastric Cancer

Generally, there are no early signs or symptoms of stomach cancer until it becomes malignant and affects other organs of the body.

Common signs and symptoms of malignant stomach cancer are as follows:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Frequent heartburn
  • Loss of appetite, sometimes accompanied by sudden weight loss
  • Constant bloating
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Bloody stools
  • Jaundice
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Stomach pain, worsen after a meal

Causes of Gastric Cancer

The types of gastric cancer are further categorized into the following forms, on the basis of the different parts of the stomach, type of cells, and how these cells spread to other areas of the body.

  • Adenocarcinoma

Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of gastric cancer among all. It affects the innermost lining of the stomach (mucosa) due to which abnormal growth of gastric cells are observed.

  • Lymphoma

This type of cancer affects the tissue of an immune system that is present in the wall of the stomach. Later on, the cells in the tissues form a cancerous cell lump over there.

  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumour (GIST)

It is the rare type of tumour which results from the impaired growth of interstitial cells named as Cajal. These cells are located on the wall of the stomach. It can affect anywhere in the digestive tract but mostly in the stomach. GIST tumours are either benign or malignant.

  • Carcinoid Tumour

These types of tumours begin to stimulate hormone-making cells of the stomach. They are mostly benign, means; do not spread to other parts of the body.

  • Other Cancer Types

Other types of cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma, and leiomyosarcoma, can also cause stomach cancer. These cancers rarely exist.


Risk Factors of Gastric Cancer

Researchers are still investigating the exact cause of gastric cancer but some triggers increase the risk of stomach cancer. For example, high smoked or salted food, processed meat, less eating of vegetables, smoking or drinking alcohol can cause stomach cancer.

Another way of increasing cancer is Helicobacter pylori, a microorganism secreted in the inner lining of the stomach, if any abnormality in it, may lead to cancer development.

Stomach cancer is common in the following groups of people:

  • Older adults, above 50 years and older
  • Men
  • Smokers
  • People had a family history of the disease
  • Mostly Asian people (especially Korean or Japanese), South American, or Belarusian ancestry

Other conditions that may increase the risk of cancer are below:

  • Ulcer or sores forms in the lining of the stomach
  • Lymphoma (a group of blood cancers)
  • Tumours in other parts of the digestive system
  • Stomach polyps (abnormal growths of tissue that form on the lining of the stomach)



Some of the important risk factors for gastric cancers include:

  • Family History
  • Age (more common in older age)
  • Gender as males are more affected
  • Being overweight
  • GERD
  • Poor dietary habits (too much salty and smoked food)
  • Stomach inflammation
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption
  • Stomach polyps
  • H.pylori infection


Here are some of the ways that can help you to minimize your risk of gastric cancers.

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Making right food choices
  • Using right food preservation techniques (other than salting and pickling the foods)
  • Limiting the consumption of alcohol and tobacco
  • Adding fresh foods and vegetables to your diet

Treatment of Gastric Cancer | When to Consult a Doctor

Involvement of several factors leads to gastric cancer at the specific site of the stomach. Although this cancer diagnosis is difficult to identify, usually a person gets to know until it is at an advanced stage or performing the tests for another disease.

After getting a complete medical history, doctors usually recommend the following diagnostic tests:

  • Upper Endoscopy Test- A flexible thin tube attached with a camera passes through the throat into the stomach for checking the signs of cancer.
  • Biopsy- Doctors scarp off the sample of tissue from the affected area for analysis. This is done for the determination of cancer cells in the sample.
  • Imaging Studies- The imaging tests are performed to check the clear and detailed scans of the stomach at various angles. This includes CT scans, MRI and a special type of X-ray exam called a barium swallow.

If doctors determine the extent (stage) of gastric cancer, then the following tests are performed.

  • Blood Tests- These tests are used to measure the function of the organ whether the stomach or other parts of the body are working properly or not such as the liver.
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound- A thin tube with a camera is inserted through the throat to the stomach. A special ultrasound instrument creates images of the stomach. This is helpful for the identification of the extent of cancer to the stomach wall and other areas of the body.
  • Imaging Tests- Along with the above tests as aforementioned in imaging studies, positron emission tomography (PET) also includes them.
  • Exploratory Surgery- This surgery may recommend identifying the signs of gastric cancer if it expands beyond the stomach like chest or abdomen area. This surgery is operated laparoscopically. It means, surgeons make small holes in the abdomen and insert a special camera through them. This is used for monitoring the growth of abnormal cells through images.

All these staging tests are the approach to find the stages of cancer that range from benign to malignant.

Doctors to treat Gastric Cancer

Last updated on Thursday 27/10/2022


Dr. Amjad S.K Durrani

Oncologist | MBBS, AFSA, Medical Oncology, DMRT

Wazir Habib Cancer CenterRs 3500


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Highly recommended. Very good doctor


Dr. Bushra Ali

Hepatologist, Gastroenterologist | MBBS,MCPS,FCPS

National Hospital & Medical CenterRs 3000

Fatima Memorial HospitalRs 3000


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It was a good visit. do not waited much and satisfied


Prof. Dr. Khalid Mahmud Khan

Internal Medicine Specialist, General Physician, Gastroenterologist | MBBS, FCPS, MRCP

Doctors HospitalRs 3500


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Overall satisfied.

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