Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, originates when cells within the stomach undergo uncontrolled division, leading to the formation of a tumor or malignant growth.
The stomach is an integral part of the digestive system, positioned in the upper abdomen, slightly left of the midline. It follows the esophagus, a muscular tube that transports food from the mouth to the stomach.
The prevalence of stomach cancer varies globally, with some regions reporting higher incidence rates than others. Factors such as diet, lifestyle, and genetics contribute to these differences.
The stomach serves as a crucial organ for digestion. It receives food from the esophagus and initiates the digestive process by secreting gastric juices. These juices contain acids and enzymes that break down food into a semi-liquid mixture called chyme.
The symptoms associated with stomach cancer result from the disruption of normal digestive functions due to the presence of cancerous cells and the tumor's growth within the stomach lining.
Some of the symptoms of stomach cancer include :
- Poor Appetite: Reduced appetite can occur as the tumor affects the stomach's capacity to hold and process food, leading to early feelings of fullness.
- Abdominal Pain: Abdominal discomfort or pain may arise due to the tumor's pressure on the stomach wall or surrounding tissues.
- Nausea and Vomiting: The tumor's interference with the digestive process can trigger nausea and vomiting, especially after meals.
- Blood in Stool: The presence of blood in the stool can result from bleeding within the stomach or from the tumor's effect on the digestive tract.
- Fluid Buildup in the Abdomen (Ascites): Cancer can disrupt the body's fluid balance, leading to the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, known as ascites.
These symptoms occur as a consequence of the tumor's impact on the stomach's structural and functional integrity, as well as its influence on nearby organs and systems. Stomach cancer's progression may lead to these manifestations, signaling the need for medical evaluation and diagnosis.