Stomach cancer is the fourth most common cancer and may occur in any region of the stomach and tends usually to invade organs like lymph nodes, liver, and lungs. Stomach cancer develops as a result of the emergence of malignant tumors in the gastric mucosa depending on several factors. There are several factors causing stomach cancer. Stomach cancer may develop and spread in any part of the alimentary system. Habits and risk factors, which may affect all gastrointestinal organs, may trigger also stomach cancer. These can be listed as follows;
The most important factor in stomach cancer is bad eating habits. Particularly barbecued meat and similar foods, too salty and pickled vegetables, processed food pave the way for stomach cancer.
H. pylori infection is another important risk factor for stomach cancer. Of all the stomach cancer patients, 65%-85% are H. pylori positive. It was shown that 2% of the patients diagnosed with H. pylori infection had stomach cancer.
Smoking and Alcohol Consumption
Smoking is an avoidable risk factor for stomach cancer. Smoking increases the risk of stomach cancer especially accompanied by alcohol consumption. Discontinuation of smoking and alcohol consumption decreases the risk of stomach cancer development.
Genetic factors are important in stomach cancer like in many other cancer types. Genetic factors come to the forefront in approx. 10% of stomach cancer patients.
The decision on the treatment choice is made following the diagnosis and determination of the cancer type. An experienced team and fully equipped hospital are important for high success. The removal of the tumor, with an appropriate approach, constitutes the most critical part of the treatment. Successful surgical interventions in the early stage of the disease prolong significantly the lifetime and improve quality of life. The surgical approach is selected according to the location of the tumor, the presence of the regional spread and distant metastasis. The midline incision above umbilicus is the most preferred approach in patients with stomach cancer. If the tumor is located in the upper esophageal segment and gastric entrance, the surgeon may decide to open the rib cage. Stomach cancer surgery is called partial gastrectomy (removal of the stomach). There are two types of stomach cancer surgery; the surgeon may remove only a part of the cancerous stomach (partial gastrectomy) or may also remove a certain part of the esophagus and intestine. The enclosed lymph nodes and other tissues may also be resected. The most common location of stomach cancer is the distal one-third part of the stomach. In such cases, the resection of only the distal stomach is sufficient. In total gastrectomy, the whole stomach, surrounding lymph nodes, esophagus and certain parts of the ileum and tissues enclosing the tumor are removed. Then the esophagus is connected directly to the ileum. The surgeon creates a new stomach from the ileum. The spleen may also be removed during this intervention. If the tumor is located in the middle or the proximal one-third part of the stomach, the total resection of the stomach is more convenient. The recovery time after surgery changes from person to person.