About Stomach Cancer

Cancers of the stomach, also called gastric cancer, develop from cells that form the lining of the innermost layer of the stomach (the mucosa) where stomach acid and digestive juices are made. Most people diagnosed with stomach cancer are in their 60s and 70s. Men are at higher risk—about 13,000 men and 8,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed annually with stomach cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.  Risk factors include smoking, certain dietary practices, chronic infection by specific bacteria and hereditary factors. Other less common types of cancer, such as lymphomas or gastrointestinal stromal tumors may also originate in the stomach and these have a different prognosis and are treated differently from classical gastric cancer.

Stomach cancer rarely has symptoms in the disease’s initial stages, making early diagnosis difficult. Possible symptoms of stomach cancer may include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • A sense of fullness just below the chest bone after eating a small meal,
  • Heartburn, indigestion or ulcer-type symptoms
  • Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal swelling 

Screening & Diagnosis

Established screening guidelines for stomach cancer do not yet exist.   Patients with persistent heartburn should be evaluated by a gastroenterologist. If your gastroenterologist suspects possible stomach cancer, there are several endoscopic, pathological or radiological tests that may be ordered to confirm cancerous growths or other possible causes.

Multispecialty Team

NorthShore University HealthSystem physicians and the team at the Kellogg Cancer Center work collaboratively and are dedicated to putting patients and families at the center of a healthcare experience that delivers compassionate, quality care.

Every week, our multidisciplinary team meets to discuss each patient’s case in detail and to design a personalized treatment plan. Your team may include your medical oncologist, surgeon, radiation oncologist, genetics counselor, pathologist, nutritionist, gastroenterologist, interventional radiologist, and researchers focused on you. This meeting of the minds provides each patient with an individualized care plant to create the path for the most optimal outcome. Our approach emphasizes open communication, collaborating with each other personally and through one of the most advanced electronic medical records systems in the country.

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