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General Practice 2023

Câncer no estômago: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Câncer no estômago: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
Câncer no estômago: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

Stomach cancer is a malignant tumor that appears anywhere in the stomach and usually appears as an ulcer, causing symptoms such as constant heartburn, stomach pain and loss of appetite.

However, it is also common that this type of cancer does not cause any specific symptoms, which causes the tumor to develop gradually and end up being diagnosed at a very advanced stage, when the chances of cure are more low.

Ideally, whenever you suspect a stomach problem, or when you have a personal or family history of stomach cancer, you schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist to assess the symptoms and perform an endoscopy, so to identify if there is any change that needs treatment.

Main symptoms

In most cases the cancer develops without causing any obvious symptoms. Therefore, it is important to be very attentive to the appearance of any symptoms that may alert to this type of cancer, such as:

  • Constant heartburn;
  • Frequent belly pain;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Diarrhea or constipation;
  • Feeling full stomach after meals;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Weakness and tiredness;
  • Vomiting with blood or blood in stool;
  • Slimming without apparent cause.

These symptoms can be common to other he alth problems, such as a virus in the stomach or gastric ulcer and, therefore, only the doctor can make the correct diagnosis and confirm the disease, through tests, such as MRI or endoscopy, for example.Know how to recognize the symptoms of stomach cancer.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The diagnosis of stomach cancer should be performed by a gastroenterologist and is usually done with blood tests and endoscopy with biopsy. See how endoscopy is performed.

In addition, the doctor may also recommend performing a computed tomography, ultrasound and x-ray to confirm the diagnosis and evaluate the evolution of the cancer, allowing a better treatment.

Possible causes

The specific cause of stomach cancer is not known, however, it seems to be more common in the following situations:

  • Helicobacter Pylori stomach infection;
  • Excessive intake of preserved foods by drying, smoking, s alting or vinegar;
  • Presence of a poorly cared for ulcer or untreated chronic gastritis;
  • Stomach Surgery;
  • History of pernicious anemia, achlorhydria, or gastric atrophy.

Furthermore, the disease is more common in people over 55 and affects men more.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for stomach cancer can be done with surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunotherapy, depending on the evolution of the cancer and the general state of he alth of the person:

1. Surgery

Surgery for stomach cancer is the most common and best-resulting treatment for this type of cancer. Surgery can be used to remove just the cancer, a part of the stomach, or the entire stomach, as well as the lymph nodes in the area, depending on the stage of the disease.

Some surgical procedures that can be performed are:

  • Endoscopic mucosal resection: performed in the early stages of the disease, in which the cancer is removed through endoscopy;
  • Subtotal gastrectomy: consists of removing only part of the stomach, keeping the other part he althy;
  • Total gastrectomy: consists of removing the entire stomach and is indicated for when the cancer has reached the entire organ or is located in the upper part.

When the entire stomach is removed, some lymph nodes around the stomach are removed to be analyzed to see if they contain tumor cells, which would mean that the cancer has spread to other locations.

Furthermore, in case other organs that are found around the stomach, such as the pancreas or spleen, are affected by tumor cells and if the doctor decides, these organs can also be removed.

2. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy for stomach cancer uses drugs to kill cancer cells, which can be taken orally or injected into the veins.There are several drugs used in the treatment of this cancer that are often used in combination for better results.

Chemotherapy may be given before surgery to help reduce the size of the tumor and after surgery to eliminate cancer cells that may not have been removed.

Some side effects that may occur during chemotherapy treatment are:

  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Hair loss;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Inflammation in the mouth;
  • Anemia.

By acting throughout the body, chemotherapy makes the immune system more fragile which increases the risk of developing infections. Side effects usually disappear within a few days of treatment.

3. Radiotherapy

Radiation therapy for stomach cancer uses radiation to destroy, reduce or control the development of cancer.Radiation therapy can be done after surgery to destroy the very small cells that were not removed during surgery, or in conjunction with chemotherapy to stop the cancer from coming back.

Side effects that can be caused by radiotherapy can be:

  • Skin burns, in the region affected by the treatment;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Body pain;
  • Anemia.

The side effects of radiotherapy are more severe when it is given together with chemotherapy.

4. Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is the use of drugs that stimulate immunity to attack cancer cells present in the stomach. Immunotherapy can be done in conjunction with chemotherapy and helps to better control the growth and development of cancer.

Some side effects that may occur during treatment are fever, weakness, chills, nausea, vomiting, cough and diarrhea. Learn more about immunotherapy, which types and when it is indicated.

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