What is gastric cancer or stomach cancer?
Gastric cancer arises after a long period in which multiple factors coincide.
The most common process of development of this type of cancer is usually with the onset of a Helicobacter pylori infection.
This bacterium creates an inflammation called gastritis that over time, can become chronic and present atrophies of the stomach lining. These atrophies become metaplasia, then dysplasia, and finally gastric carcinoma. Most stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas.
Where in the stomach does cancer occur?
Gastric cancer begins and can develop anywhere in the stomach, although depending on the area (proximal or distal), they will have different prognoses. In addition, it may have the ability to spread to other areas, both those that are closer and others that are further away, such as the lungs, ovaries, kidneys, colon, etc.
Examples of some nearby areas where it can spread are “upwards” affecting the esophagus, or “downwards” affecting the intestines, other more distant areas, if it goes beyond the stomach walls and ends up affecting both other vital organs (such as the liver, pancreas, …) as reaching the lymph nodes and can spread throughout the body.
Once the disease and the existence of the tumor have been diagnosed and confirmed, as in all cases of cancer, whatever the type, the degree of evolution in which the tumor is found, the size it represents and whether or not there are metastases. Subsequently, the treatment that best suits the affected person and their needs begins.
Types of gastric cancer
Depending on the affected cells, the type of cancer may vary even if it is located in the same area. Among stomach cancers we find the so-called adenocarcinomas, which are the most common:
They have two variants, diffuse adenocarcinoma and intestinal adenocarcinoma, which the specialist can easily differentiate under a microscope and observing the cells of the stomach mucosa that grow in an uncontrolled way. Depending on the shape of the affected cells, they are classified as good, moderate or bad.
The intestinal type is the most common, it presents wounds and ulcerations, it manifests itself mainly in elderly men and it has a better prognosis than the diffuse one, due to its long evolution.
In contrast, the diffuse type, occurs in young people and does not present ulcerations, but develops cells of a different structure, which displace healthy cells, invading gastric tissue.
If it is not possible to differentiate the type, it is simply called carcinoma, although there are also variants of the latter type.
There are other types of cancer at the stomach level with a lower incidence, they differ from adenocarcinoma and are treated differently. These types of cancer are: sarcomas, lymphomas, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and even melanomas.
Who is most affected by stomach cancer?
At the gender level, it is known that it tends to affect men more than women, especially from the age of forty.
At the population level, which is most affected by stomach cancer, it is found in areas such as Asia (Japan, China, Korea, etc.) also in Great Britain, Iceland, Eastern Europe, Portugal, South America (Chile, Venezuela and Colombia) and Central America (Costa Rica).
In a much lower number of incidence in areas of North America (United States), India, Africa, Australia, the Philippines and Western Europe.
More information on gastric cancer
1 July, 2020