If the cancer is detected early,
it is potentially CURABLE.
Function of the stomach
When food enters the stomach from the
oesophagus, it is broken down and digested
into smaller molecules by gastric juices
secreted in the stomach.
What is stomach cancer?
The stomach like the rest of the body, is
made up of billions of little units called
cells. The cells have a specific function
and they divide in an orderly manner.
However, when these cells lose control of
their division, a mass of tissue called a
tumour is formed. A tumour may be benign
(non- cancerous) if it does not have the
potential to spread and invade other
tissues, or malignant (cancerous) if it
invades other neighboring tissues and
organs. When they invade lymph channels or
the blood stream, these cancer cells break
away to form new cancers in other tissues
Normal Cells Abnormal Cells
People who have Blood Group 'A'
Those with a history of previous chronic
Those with a family history of cancer of the
Some researchers suggest that there is a
relationship between stomach cancer and a
high consumption of smoked and salted food.
However, the exact relationship has not
Signs and symptoms
Very often no symptoms appear until the
cancer is in the advanced stage. Some of the
common symptoms are
Upper abdominal discomfort and pain
Loss of appetite
Black tarry stools
Loss of weight
These symptoms can also be due to gastric
ulcer or gastritis. Consult your doctor if
such symptoms persist.
Barium meal X-ray
A series of x-rays of the stomach after the
patient has swallowed a glassful of barium
compound which, seen by x-rays, will outline
the stomach. A growth can also be seen. This
is a safe and simple procedure.
A flexible telescope is passed into the
stomach to view the inner lining for any
growth. Biopsy of the stomach wall can be
made to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment of stomach cancer
Surgery - Surgery is the best form of
treatment for cancer of the stomach.
For large cancers - removal of the entire
stomach and neighboring organs such as the
spleen may be required.
For smaller cancers - partial removal of the
stomach is done. In very early cases, the
cure rate is about 96%, but in the majority
of late cases, the cure rate is less than
5%. Unfortunately many of these patients are
diagnosed in the advanced stage.
This involves the use of anti-cancer drugs
which can produce some improvement. However,
these drugs can also produce some unpleasant
Use of powerful x-rays can occasionally be
employed for stomach cancer.
Go for annual medical check-up.
Seek medical attention when you have some of
the symptoms listed above.
Cancer is a disease, like many other
diseases, dangerous but curable. Early
detection and treatment of Cancer can save
Reference :Singapore Cancer Registry Report
No. 6 "Trends In Cancer Incidence in
Singapore 1968-2002", Table 5.2, pp 16
2 Singapore Cancer Registry Report No. 6
"Trends In Cancer Incidence in Singapore
1968-2002", Table 5.2, pp 16