Stomach cancer or gastric cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide but it is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Most are diagnosed at advanced or metastatic stage as most patient do not seek medical advice at initial symptoms. Prognosis of any cancer is better if it is detected at early stage and treated.
Stomach Cancer Symptoms
Most common early symptoms are non-specific and include dyspepsia, bloating, fullness, pain abdomen. Stomach cancer have a tendency for bleed, bleed is generally slow and patient passes black colored stool and develops anemia. Because of this slow bleed patient may have symptoms of anemia like tiredness, weakness, Anorexia and weight loss are common as in other gastrointestinal cancer. When the cancer is located at antro-pyloric region it will cause vomiting. These symptoms and signs should not be ignored especially at old age
Stomach Cancer Diagnosis
When patients present with non-specific upper GI symptoms at old age associated with anorexia and weight loss first investigation to be done is upper GI endoscopy. It will detect any mass lesions or ulcers in the stomach. Biopsy should be taken from any suspicious lesion. Biopsy confirms the diagnosis. Most common stomach cancer is adenocarcinoma
Once the diagnosis is confirmed and the patient is fit for surgery further investigations should be done for resectability of cancer, CECT abdomen is the ideal for staging the disease. It will detect distant metastases and the relation of cancer to surrounding structures. PET scan should be done in patients who are high risk for surgery as it detects some occult metastases which are missed on CT Scan