Gastric cancer prognosis and tests

This article was endorsed by Callista Emecheta - Medical Doctor and Writer

Gastric cancer tests

One of the tests that can help diagnose some disorders is to carry out a complete blood test, which will measure the levels, size and percentage (hematocrit) of red blood cells in the blood, the levels of white blood cells (defenses) and the amount of hemoglobin of the blood (it is a protein of the red globules that is in charge of the transport of oxygen).

This method can be useful for detecting and diagnosing from:

  • Low number of red blood cells, hematocrit and hemoglobin can be due to pernicious anemia and malnutrition due to deficiency in the absorption of vitamin B12, among other substances and types of anemias, due to hemorrhage, a deficiency of the bone marrow (existence of infections, tumors, …), etc.
  • Low blood volume (quantity): dehydration (due to excessive and poorly controlled diarrhea) or hidden blood hemorrhages (not visible to the naked eye) that can cause a possible iron deficiency.
  • Low white blood cell volume may be due to a deficiency of the bone marrow, it means that our defenses are low, it can be the cause (among many others) of the existence of infections, tumors, … such as after carrying out a radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment .
  • When the volume of white blood cells is high, it is usually due to the reaction of our body (increased production of defenses) to having an infection, inflammation, stress, allergy or some damage or similar affectation.

Other more invasive tests that can help detect and diagnose it range from biopsies, stool tests (they look to see if they contain blood), to x-rays from the esophagus to the duodenum (start of the small intestine). This last test requires the administration of an oral drug, which contains a mineral called barium, which is fluorescent, the complementary action that reduces bowel movement, serves to make the images come out sharp (without movement).

If there is a risk of metastasis and you want to observe the large intestine and colon, another test called an opaque enema is also performed, which has the same elements as the previous one but is performed by anal tube.

Gastric cancer prognosis

The prognosis of stomach cancer will always vary depending on: the person suffering from it, gender, age, diet, unhealthy habits, their state of health (before, during and after), their tolerance to the designated treatment, the state of evolution of the tumor itself, its extension or not (metastasis) to other organs of our body, whether or not there is involvement of the lymph nodes, the location of the cancer, etc.

A clear example of what can vary, is that only considering one of all the factors mentioned above, such as the location of the cancer, the prognosis varies considerably. Tumors can occur in the upper or lower areas within the same stomach, the latter have a better prognosis and cure percentage than the former.

Despite these factors, this type of cancer has a factor that characterizes it and is extremely negative for the survival of the patient. Gastric cancers do not present appreciable symptoms in the vast majority of cases in their early stages of evolution, these symptoms are usually masked with some indigestion or mild discomfort, … which is not usually given much importance.

The problem is that just when the symptoms begin to manifest themselves intensely, it is usually because the spread to other parts and organs of the body has begun (or has already expanded), the symptoms of which are much more evident and painful.

If stomach cancer could not be diagnosed after metastasizing to other organs, that is, before metastasis is created (being asymptomatic), the patient’s survival prognosis will vary considerably depending on the extended area of ​​the tumor, depending of which organs it affects (if they are vital or can be removed, etc.) and in what “quantity” they are affected.

If this metastasis is in an initial phase, the 5-year average life expectancy of the patients is 75% of the cases, that is, they live for 5 more years, three out of four cases.

If, on the contrary, the metastasis is in a very advanced phase, the 5-year half-life prognosis seen by the patients does not usually exceed 30% of the cases, that is, they only live for 5 more years, three out of ten people affected.

With these statistical values, the great importance of an early diagnosis of any disease is implicit, thus preventing its possible proliferation and maximizing the patient’s survival prognosis.

punto rojo More information on gastric cancer

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

1 July, 2020

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