The most common condition among all types of cancer is located in any part of the stomach. In addition, it often spreads to organs such as the lungs, lymph nodes, and liver. This type of cancer, which shows the slowest symptoms among the symptoms of stomach and intestinal diseases, occurs with the development of malignant tumors in the gastric mucosa for various reasons. Gastric cancer, whose diagnosis and treatment methods have developed as a result of the developments in the field of technology, can be brought under control with the right treatment process. However, the symptoms of the disease are different according to the region where the cancer cells are located and the stage of the cancer.
Gastric cancer symptoms may not be seen in the early stages. However, in these symptoms, first indigestion and bloating stand out. The symptoms are as follows:
- Aversion to meat and meat products
- Abdominal pain, vomiting and weight loss
- Indigestion and weight loss experienced by people over the age of 40
- Blood clots with sudden chest pain, swelling in the legs and shortness of breath
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Blood in stool
- Fluid in the abdomen
- Burning sensation in the esophagus
- Stomache ache
- Frequent heartburn
- Noticeable swelling in the stomach area
Types of gastric cancer are as follows:
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumor
- Small cell carcinoma
- Carcinoid tumor
- Squamous cell carcinoma
Stomach cancer stages are a condition that determines the patient's life expectancy and the treatment to be applied. For this reason, it is important to know at what stage the diagnosed patient is experiencing this condition. While it is possible to treat the cancerous tissue endoscopically in the disease experienced in the early stages, chemotherapy treatment comes to the fore in the last stage, also called the 4th stage. The stages are as follows:
- Stage 1: The cancer seen at this stage has not spread to any lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
- Stage 2: Cancer grows under the upper cell layer at this stage. However, it does not reach the main barrier layer.
- Stage 3: In this stage, the cancer becomes the main muscle layer. It has also spread to multiple lymph nodes.
- Stage 4: It is the most advanced stage of the disease. At this stage, cancerous cells have spread to other parts of the body outside of the stomach.
There is no sure way to prevent stomach cancer, but changing some bad habits in daily life and taking care of a healthy diet can reduce the risk. The measures that can be taken to reduce the risk are as follows:
- People who experience bloating, stomach pain and indigestion should use stomach medicine only under the supervision of a doctor. Medications used without the knowledge of the doctor may cause delay in diagnosis.
- Consumption of pickled, smoked and salted meats should be reduced.
- Fresh vegetables and fruits should be consumed.
- Legumes should be included in the diet.
- Foods rich in fiber should be consumed.
- Being overweight is a condition that increases the risk of cancer. Therefore, excess weight should be lost.
- Salt and sugar consumption should be reduced.
- Consumption of extremely hot food and drink should be avoided.
- Regular exercise should be done.
Early diagnosis of stomach cancer is very important. For this reason, people who have certain complaints about their stomach should consult a specialist doctor in the early period. Thanks to this application, follow-up with endoscopy is performed and the necessary treatment process is planned. In endoscopy, the doctor examines the esophagus, small intestine and stomach with a light camera. Abnormal parts that stand out in this examination are taken by biopsy. With a correct endoscopy application, the disease can be detected at an early stage. In addition to endoscopy, computed tomography and contrast-enhanced radiographs are also used in diagnosis. In addition, advanced tests are also used to determine the stage of the cancer and to measure its spread to other organs. With these tests, the most appropriate treatment method for the patient is determined. These tests can be listed as Computed tomography (CT), PET-CT, MR and laparoscopic, chest X-ray and kidney ultrasound. The size and location of cancer formation are determined by computed tomography (CT). With other tests, it is determined whether the cancer has spread and the most accurate treatment process is planned for the patient.
With the correct diagnosis, the type of cancer is determined and then the treatment method is planned. A multidisciplinary approach is required in the treatment of gastric cancer. Correct removal of the tumor, which is the source of cancer, is the most important step in treatment. The application of this stage together with the diagnosis made in the early stage is of great importance in terms of the patient's life expectancy. All or a small part of the stomach can be removed by surgery. For patients whose stomach is completely removed, a new stomach is made with the intestine, so that the patient can continue his normal life. However, patients should pay attention to feeding at small and frequent intervals after this procedure. Some patients can also be treated with medication or radiation therapy, depending on the condition of the cancer and removal of the stomach.
Chemotherapy is the oral or intravenous administration of drugs developed to treat cancer. These drugs that are taken usually mix with the blood and show their effect by going to the first exit place where the cancerous cells are found, and also to the organs and tissues where the cancerous cells have spread. Radiotherapy is also applied. In addition, chemotherapy can be given before surgery. With this procedure, called neo-adjuvant chemotherapy, the tumor is reduced and the patient is prepared for surgery.
Stomach cancer surgery is applied to treat the condition and also to relieve digestive system disorders such as bleeding, nausea and eating disorders due to cancer. In this direction, the stomach is completely removed or a part of the stomach is removed. This decision is closely related to the patient's condition. In this surgery, the lymph nodes around the tissue are removed along with the tissue causing the cancer. Surgery, which includes all these stages, takes between 2 and 5 hours depending on the procedure, the patient and additional factors.
As well as the symptoms and stages of stomach cancer, nutrition in this period is also among the topics of interest. Part of or all of the stomach may need to be removed. All of these processes affect a person's appetite and digestion. As a result of this situation, most patients may experience weight loss, early satiety, loss of appetite and stomach pain. For this reason, it is necessary for the person to be fed and to change some eating habits under the follow-up of a specialist dietitian. For this reason, the dietitian prepares a nutrition plan for the patient, which includes low-fiber, non-hard fruits, fish and cooked vegetables. With this nutrition, it is aimed to keep the patient away from processed foods, delicatessen products, sugar, packaged foods and salt.