Stomach cancer (also called gastric cancer) can develop in any part of the stomach, and may spread throughout the stomach and to other organs. It may grow along the stomach wall into the esophagus or small intestine.
Different types of stomach cancer include:
Adenocarcinomas develop within the cells of the innermost lining of the stomach. The majority of stomach cancers are classified as adenocarcinomas.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system tissue that may start anywhere there are lymph tissues, including the stomach. Lymphomas in the stomach are rather rare and only account for about 4 percent of all stomach cancers.
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors, or GISTs, are a rare type of stomach cancer that starts in a special cell found in the lining of the stomach called interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs). Under a microscope, GIST cells look similar to muscle or nerve cells. These tumors may develop throughout the digestive tract, but about 60 to 70 percent occur in the stomach.
Carcinoid tumors typically start in the hormone producing cells of the stomach. These tumors usually do not spread to different organs and account for only about 3 percent of stomach cancer incidence.
Some common stomach cancer symptoms may include:
Unexplained weight loss: Lack of appetite or unexplained weight loss is a common sign of cancer.
Stomach pain: Abdominal discomfort or pain in the abdomen above the navel could be a symptom of stomach cancer. Also, swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen may also be caused by stomach cancer.
Feeling full: Many stomach cancer patients experience a sense of "fullness" in the upper abdomen after eating small meals.
Heartburn: Indigestion, heartburn or symptoms similar to an ulcer may be signs of stomach cancer.
Nausea & vomiting: Some stomach cancer patients have symptoms that include nausea and throwing up. Sometimes the vomit may have blood in it.