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Gastric Cancer (Stomach Cancer)

Cancer that forms in tissues lining the stomach. Also called gastric cancer.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Gastric Cancer (Stomach Cancer)

Gastric cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lining of the stomach.

The stomach is a J-shaped organ in the upper abdomen. It is part of the digestive system, which processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) in foods that are eaten and helps pass waste material out of the body. Food moves from the throat to the stomach through a hollow, muscular tube called the esophagus. After leaving the stomach, partly-digested food passes into the small intestine and then into the large intestine.

The wall of the stomach is made up of 3 layers of tissue: the mucosal (innermost) layer, the muscularis (middle) layer, and the serosal (outermost) layer. Gastric cancer begins in the cells lining the mucosal layer and spreads through the outer layers as it grows.

Stromal tumors of the stomach begin in supporting connective tissue and are treated... Read more about Gastric Cancer

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Extent of lymphadenectomy in patients with gastric cancer

Gastric carcinoma is a leading cause of cancer death worldwide. For patients affected with this disease, the main therapy is surgery, which consists of gastric resection along with the removal of lymph nodes surrounding the stomach (a procedure called lymphadenectomy). Three types of progressively more extended lymphadenectomies exist (called D1, D2 and D3); their therapeutic benefit is debated.

Traditional Chinese medicinal herbs for induction of remission in advanced or late gastric cancer

Gastric cancer, one of the malignant tumours in the gastrointestinal tract and with high morbidity among cancers, can easily lead to death once it progresses to an advanced or late stage. There are few interventions which can postpone or stop the malignant course of the illness. However, some kinds of traditional Chinese medicinal herbs (TCMHs) have been used as an alternative therapeutic measure to treat many gastric cancer patients in China, and might be effective as an auxiliary therapy for this illness in its advanced or late stages. Our primary investigation showed there was no assured evidence concerning the effectiveness of TCMHs in improving the quality of life or rate of remission, alleviating the toxic and side effects caused by the chemotherapy, or reducing short‐term mortality. Limited, weak evidence showed that four injections of the TCMHs Huachansu, Aidi, Fufangkushen, and Shenqifuzheng showed statistically significant differences for the improvement of leukopenia, and Huachansu, Aidi, and Fufangkushen for adverse events in the digestive system, but no significant differences in the rate of short‐term remission. Most of the included studies were of low quality and valid comparisons were scarce, meaning that more trials are needed for meta‐analysis to draw definite conclusions about their benefits.

Inserting a drain after gastrectomy for gastric cancer

Gastrectomy remains the primary therapeutic method for resectable gastric cancer. It is believed that abdominal drains can help in the earlier detection and drainage of anastomotic fistulas and the prevention of intra‐abdominal abscesses. There is no consensus on the routine placement of abdominal drainage after gastrectomy for gastric cancer.

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Summaries for consumers

Extent of lymphadenectomy in patients with gastric cancer

Gastric carcinoma is a leading cause of cancer death worldwide. For patients affected with this disease, the main therapy is surgery, which consists of gastric resection along with the removal of lymph nodes surrounding the stomach (a procedure called lymphadenectomy). Three types of progressively more extended lymphadenectomies exist (called D1, D2 and D3); their therapeutic benefit is debated.

Traditional Chinese medicinal herbs for induction of remission in advanced or late gastric cancer

Gastric cancer, one of the malignant tumours in the gastrointestinal tract and with high morbidity among cancers, can easily lead to death once it progresses to an advanced or late stage. There are few interventions which can postpone or stop the malignant course of the illness. However, some kinds of traditional Chinese medicinal herbs (TCMHs) have been used as an alternative therapeutic measure to treat many gastric cancer patients in China, and might be effective as an auxiliary therapy for this illness in its advanced or late stages. Our primary investigation showed there was no assured evidence concerning the effectiveness of TCMHs in improving the quality of life or rate of remission, alleviating the toxic and side effects caused by the chemotherapy, or reducing short‐term mortality. Limited, weak evidence showed that four injections of the TCMHs Huachansu, Aidi, Fufangkushen, and Shenqifuzheng showed statistically significant differences for the improvement of leukopenia, and Huachansu, Aidi, and Fufangkushen for adverse events in the digestive system, but no significant differences in the rate of short‐term remission. Most of the included studies were of low quality and valid comparisons were scarce, meaning that more trials are needed for meta‐analysis to draw definite conclusions about their benefits.

Inserting a drain after gastrectomy for gastric cancer

Gastrectomy remains the primary therapeutic method for resectable gastric cancer. It is believed that abdominal drains can help in the earlier detection and drainage of anastomotic fistulas and the prevention of intra‐abdominal abscesses. There is no consensus on the routine placement of abdominal drainage after gastrectomy for gastric cancer.

See all (65)

Terms to know

Esophagus
The muscular tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach.
Gastric
Having to do with the stomach.
Large Intestine
The part of the intestine that includes the appendix, cecum, colon, and rectum. The large intestine absorbs water from stool and changes it from a liquid to a solid form. The large intestine is 5 feet long.
Mucosa (Mucous Membranes)
The moist, inner lining of some organs and body cavities (such as the nose, mouth, lungs, and stomach). Glands in the mucosa make mucus (a thick, slippery fluid). Also called mucous membrane.
Neoplasm (Tumor)
An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Neoplasms may be benign (not cancer), or malignant (cancer). Also called tumor.
Small Intestine
The organ where most digestion occurs. It measures about 20 feet and includes the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum.
Stomach
An organ that is part of the digestive system. The stomach helps digest food by mixing it with digestive juices and churning it into a thin liquid.

More about Gastric Cancer

Photo of an adult

Also called: Malignant tumour of the stomach, Malignant tumor of the stomach, Cancer of the stomach, Gastric carcinoma, Carcinoma of the stomach, Stomach carcinoma

Other terms to know: See all 7
Esophagus, Gastric, Large Intestine

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