The stomach is situated in the upper abdomen and is part of the digestive system. It helps to digest food.
Also called gastric cancer, stomach cancer affects the cells that form the lining of the stomach. The majority of gastric cancers are adenocarcinomas which, generally, start in cells that secrete mucus and other fluids.
Gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors, lymphomas, and gastrointestinal stromal tumors are less common types of gastric cancers.
Causes & Symptoms of Stomach Cancer
Early-stage gastric cancer will rarely present symptoms, making early detection difficult.
Risk factors for stomach cancer include:
• helicobacter pylori infection
• stomach lymphoma
• tobacco use
• type A blood
• certain medical conditions
• inherited genetic conditions
• family history
• previous stomach surgery
• Epstein-Barr virus
• working in the rubber industry
Other possible risk factors include:
• eating large quantities of smoked foods, salted meats and pickled vegetables
Some of the following symptoms can be caused by things other than stomach cancer, so it is important to visit your physician for a proper diagnosis.
Symptoms of stomach cancer include:
• nausea / vomiting
• pain in the upper abdomen
• weight loss
• diminished appetite
• feeling full after eating a small meal
• indigestion or heartburn
• weight loss
• swelling in the abdomen
• blood in the stool
• lump or mass in the abdomen
• lump in the left armpit (swollen lymph node)
Who Gets Stomach Cancer
More men than women get stomach cancer. Risk increases with age and is greatest after 50 years of age. We find the highest rates of stomach cancer in Japan, China, South America and Eastern Europe. It is more common in people of Hispanic, African or Asian/Pacific Island ancestry than in people with European ancestry.
Prognosis if You Have Stomach Cancer
Survival rates for stomach cancer have slowly improved over the last 30 years. The difficulty of early detection negatively affects the overall survival rates. The relative 5 year survival rate for stomach cancer in the US is 29%.
5 Year Survival Rates for Stomach cancer:
• Stage I – 57 to 71 percent
• Stage II- 33 to 46 percent
• Stage III- 9 to 20 percent
• Stage IV- 4 percent
Conventional medicine’s main types of treatment for Stomach Cancer include:
• Radiation therapy
• Targeted therapy
• Regular Follow Ups
• Palliative therapy
How to Prevent Stomach Cancer
Eating fewer foods that are heavily smoked, salted or pickled can help in the prevention of stomach cancer. There are studies that indicate eating large portions of fresh fruits and vegetables can also help.
Immune System Health
A healthy immune system remains your body's best defense. Not only is a weak immune system a major reason patients have cancer — and cancer itself can further weaken the immune system.
Beta glucans help regulate the immune system, making it more efficient. In addition, beta glucans stimulate white blood cells (lymphocytes) that bind to tumors or viruses and release chemicals to destroy it.
Beta Glucan has been approved in Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan as an immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer. In fact, helping with cancer is just the beginning with Beta Glucan. There have thousands of studies showing the product can protect against infections, lower your cholesterol, lower blood sugar, reduce stress, increase your antibody production, heal wounds, help radiation burns, overcome mercury-induced immunosuppression (like Thimerosal, used as a preservative in vaccines), help with diabetes, and even naturally prevent metastasisThe spread of cancer cells from the place where they first formed to another part of the body. In metastasis, cancer cells break away from the original (primary) tumor, travel through the blood or lymph system, and form a new tumor in other organs or tissues of the body. The new, metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the lung, the cancer cells in the lung are breast cancer cells, not lung cancer cells. (or the spreading of your cancer).
Harvard Medical School suggests following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward keeping your immune system strong and healthy:
• Don't smoke.
• Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fatA type of fat with certain chemical properties that is usually solid at room temperature. Most saturated fats come from animal food products, but some plant oils, such as palm and coconut oil, also contain high levels. Eating saturated fat increases the level of cholesterol in the blood and the risk of heart disease..
• Exercise regularly.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Control your blood pressure.
• If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
• Get adequate sleep.
• Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
• Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.
More Information: Building the Immune System
Your diet plays a role in a healthy immune system. The top vitamins your immune system needs to perform include:
• Vitamin C — helps to repair and regenerate tissues and aids in the absorption of iron
• Vitamin E — a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection
• Vitamin B6 — supports adrenal function and is necessary for key metabolic processes
• Vitamin A — aids immune function and helps provide a barrier against infections
• Vitamin D — modulates cell growth, promotes neuromuscular and immune function, and reduces inflammation
• Folate — key in development of red blood cells (a lack of Folate can make the body susceptible to cancer)
• Iron — helps your body carry oxygen to cells
• Selenium — slows the body's over-active responses to certain aggressive forms of cancer
• Zinc — slows the immune response and control inflammation in your body
Sources: American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research Society, Canadian Cancer Society