Stomach cancer is the 5th most common cancer in the world, according to the World Cancer Research Fund. This type of cancer typically affects men more than women, people over the age of 50, and is particularly more common in Asia. When diagnosed early, stomach cancer survival becomes more likely.
But what about a later diagnosis?
Stomach cancer survival rate: How does it first develop?
Stomach cancer develops slowly over many years. It usually happens after another condition, such as GERD or long-term gastritis.
Put simply, stomach cancer develops when the stomach’s defense mechanisms are altered. It can also happen when food, medication, or bacteria damage the stomach’s inner lining (mucosa).
These progressive changes and damage to the normal lining of the stomach may eventually progress to cancer.
What are the risk factors for developing stomach cancer?
The risk factors for the development of stomach cancer include the following:
H. pylori Infections
This particular bacteria is commonly seen in patients with gastric ulcers. They thrive in low pH environments, such as that of the stomach.
- Intake of food rich in nitrites and nitrate – This can turn into compounds that can damage the stomach.
- Smoking Tobacco – There is a link between the number of sticks smoked per day to the likelihood of developing stomach cancer.
- Alcohol Consumption – Drinking alcohol over a long period of time can heighten stomach cancer risk.
- Being Overweight or Obese – Associated with the development of cancer in the upper portion of the stomach, known as the cardia.
- Exposure to Chemicals – such as asbestos and inorganic lead compounds.
- Previous stomach surgery – This is partly because the stomach is no longer operating at full capacity, hence its altered mucosal defenses.
- Pernicious Anemia – A condition wherein the stomach cannot produce Intrinsic Factor, which is necessary in the absorption of vitamin B12. Decreased absorption of vitamin B12 alters the body’s ability to make new blood cells, leading to pernicious anemia.
- Hereditary Conditions such as: Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer, Lynch Syndrome and Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)
It’s important to note that through proper screening and screening of high risk patients, earlier intervention and subsequent treatment can help achieve a better prognosis.
Types of stomach cancer
There are several types of stomach cancer, each with a predisposition to affecting a certain portion of the stomach. The most common types of stomach cancer are the following:
- Adenocarcinoma – The most common stomach cancer (90-95%) that develops from the cells of the gastric mucosa or lining.
- Lymphoma – Arise from immune cells found in the stomach’s walls
- Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST) – Uncommon tumors that begin in the cells within the GI Tract, however these may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant.
- Carcinoid Tumor – Come from the cells that produce hormones within the stomach.
Stages of stomach cancer
Stomach cancer is staged from 0 (carcinoma in situ), then I to IV, the former representing a more isolated cancer while the latter refers to different stages of cancers, with stage IV being used to classify distant metastasis.
Stomach cancer is clinically staged according to the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM system. This gauges the Tumor size, lymph Node involvement and Metastasis of the cancer.
Pathologic staging is done during surgery, while clinical staging is done prior to surgery or when surgery is not viable, and is based on the physical exam, biopsy, and diagnostic imaging.
Prognosis: Stomach Cancer Stage 3 Survival Rate
When it comes to stomach cancer survival, the prognosis is determined by a 5-year survival rate which is a percentage of people in a treatment group who are alive five years after they were diagnosed and/or treated for their disease.
Patients with stage IA stomach cancer have a 5 year survival rate of 94%, while those with stage IB have a 88% survival rate. The stomach cancer stage 3 survival rate is 18%, although other studies say that it may go up to 25%.
Unfortunately, in most studies conducted, patients with stage IV stomach cancers have no 5 year survival statistics as most patients don’t live to reach 5 years after diagnosis.
Treatment of stomach cancer
Stage I and Stage II stomach cancer can be treated by surgical intervention, this is usually a resection of the stomach, known as a total or subtotal gastrectomy accompanied by a lymph node dissection. Chemoradiation therapy may also precede treatment.
Stage III stomach cancer is treated with surgery and chemoradiation as well, which may be curative, however some patients at this stage may undergo surgery for symptomatic relief.
Stage IV stomach cancer represents cancer that has already spread to distant organs, and is difficult to cure. Chemoradiation therapy may be offered, and palliative surgery for symptomatic relief may be given, however curative treatment is no longer viable.
Stomach cancer in later stages is difficult to treat, and have a poor prognosis in the long run. However, through proper screening of high risk patients, the diagnosis of stomach cancer can be established earlier. Upon detection, early treatment can ensue with a good prognosis.
For patients with stage III stomach cancer, seeking treatment can still be curative and at the very least may help alleviate symptoms and provide comfort and relief.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.