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Stomach Cancer

About the Department

The food that you eat is transported from the mouth to the stomach through the esophagus. The stomach is actually a small, pouched shared organ that contains juices which helps to break down the food before it travels into the small intestine. When the cancerous cells begin to grow out of proportion in the inner lining of the stomach, it may be defined as stomach cancer.
The stomach wall is built of 5 layers and it is in these layers that help the specialist to determine the penetration of the cancerous cells in the body. If the cancer is seen to be growing from the mucosa of the stomach into deeper layers, then it can be assumed that the condition has progressed to an advanced stage. 

Stomach cancer is a slow growing cancer that takes many years to develop inside the body. Detection in the early stages is difficult as symptoms are really rare. 

Researchers have still not been able to adequately find a suitable explanation as to the reason behind why one develops stomach cancer. However, they have stated that one is more at risk of developing the cancer if one has been infected with H. Pylori which is a common bacteria that results in ulcers in the stomach. In addition to that, if one has gastritis which is an inflammation of the gut, then pernicious anemia, that is an anemia which lasts for a long period of time, tends to expand in the stomach known as polyps. This can most likely result in stomach cancer too. Smoking, being overweight or obese, indulging in a diet of red meat, pickled and salty foods often can also result in stomach cancer.

Stomach cancer is more likely to occur in men with the common age group being over 60. However, that does not mean that men or women below 60 cannot be diagnosed with stomach cancer. 

Bringing together top specialists and clinicians side by side represents the culmination of world class expertise with science and makes the Department of Cancer at Fortis Bannerghatta, second to none in the city. With a comprehensive cancer centre in place, our patients can access the latest treatments in stomach cancer. We believe in putting the best team together for our patient. That means you have access to oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and specialist nurses who are pioneers in their respective fields. 

At Fortis Bannerghatta, we have set new standards of patient care. We want to fully support you and your family through this journey of treatment and home care therapy. During your treatment, you will be visiting our facilities many times over and will probably require hospitalisation too. To make you feel more welcome and comfortable, we have designed our rooms that allow lots of natural light along with comfortable accommodation if your family member wants to be by your side. At Fortis, we want to ease your stress and promote healing. 

Areas of Care

There are various types of stomach cancer. It is important to figure out the type before your specialist can formulate your treatment plan.

- Adenocarcinoma
- Lymphoma
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)
- Carcinoid tumor
- Leiomyosarcoma

There are also some rare forms of stomach cancer, such as:

- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Small cell carcinoma

The degree of stomach cancer in every patient is different. In order to understand your condition better, specialists at Fortis Bannerghatta will walk through your medical history and discuss the symptoms that you have been experiencing in order to arrive at a diagnosis. 

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Cancers

Early diagnosis in the case of stomach cancer is hard as there are little or no symptoms at all. The symptoms that you may experience may overlap with other health conditions too.

- If you are experiencing a serious loss of appetite
- If you had a severe weight loss over a short period of time
- If you are experiencing constant pain in your abdominal region
- If you going through a feeling of discomfort in your abdominal area, particularly around the navel
- If you sensing a fullness in your upper abdomen post consuming a small meal
- If you are going through indigestion or experiencing heartburn
- If you are feeling nauseous
- If you are vomiting that may not may not contain blood
- If you feel that there is a swelling or fluid building up in the abdomen
- If you see blood in your stool
- If you feel anaemic

In most cases, the symptoms may be the result of a stomach virus or an ulcer rather than stomach cancer. However, if you observe that the symptoms are persisting over a period of time, then it is best to consult your general physician who may in turn refer you to a specialist if he feels that there’s a need for more a in-depth verification of your condition.

Our Diagnostic Services

The first step of the diagnostic screening will include a session with your specialist at Fortis, where you will discuss your complete medical history, lifestyle habits, etc. Based on the discussion, along with the symptoms that you have been experiencing, the specialist will recommend a series of preliminary examinations that may include:

- Upper endoscopy: 

A thin, flexible, lighted tube is inserted that has a small video camera attached to it, down your throat. The doctor is able to get a view of the lining of the esophagus, stomach and part of the small intestine.  If the doctor finds any abnormal areas, then a tissue sample can also be removed with this instrument that can be later sent for a biopsy.

- Endoscopic ultrasound or EUS:

With this test, the doctor is able to view the images of the stomach by placing a tiny transducer at the tip of the endoscope which is also inserted through your throat. You will be sedated first in order to carry out this examination. The transducer is permitted to rest against the wall of the stomach where the suspected cancer is located. The EUS is beneficial also as it allows the doctor to see how far the cancer has progressed and if it has penetrated to other organs in the body.

- Biopsy:

If during the endoscopy, the doctor has suspected a possible cancerous area, then he removes a tissue that is sent for a biopsy that will be able to confirm if there is presence of cancerous cells in the stomach. 

- Upper gastrointestinal (GI) series:

This diagnostic test allows a look into the inner lining of the esophagus, stomach and the small intestine too. This procedure allows the doctor to look for abnormalities but is less invasive in comparison to the endoscopy and does not allow any tissue samples to be taken out. 

Once your specialist has had the opportunity to review the outcome of the primary tests, he may prescribe a round of secondary diagnostic screenings to confirm the stage of the cancer and if it has spread to other organs around it. The tests may include:

  • X-rays
  • CT Scans
  • MRI Scans
  • PET Scan
  • Chest X-ray

If stomach cancer is a confirmed diagnosis, the third round of diagnostics will possibly include a:

- Laparoscopy

- Lab tests

Going through a series of diagnostics tests can also be an overwhelming experience not just for you but for your family as well. We invite you to discuss your concerns with our team of specialists at every step of the way. Helping you understand your condition better is a step towards a speedy recovery.

Treatment Options

Your personalised treatment plan is determined by the specialist team at Fortis depending on the stage of your cancer, the dimension and location of the tumour in the stomach. If the diagnostic results show that the cancerous cells from the stomach have spread to other organs, the treatment will be more intensive. Your overall health condition will be also be taken into account. 

- Surgical Therapy:

- If the tumour in the stomach is at an early stage, then it can be removed via a surgical procedure
- Trying subtotal gastrectomy which means removing a portion of the stomach
- Total gastrectomy includes removing the entire stomach
- Removal of the lymph nodes in order to analyse for cancerous cells
- If the cancer is at a advanced stage, then removing the stomach partly may relieve some of the symptoms

- Radiation Therapy
- Chemotherapy
- Targeted Drugs
- Nutritional Care
- Pain Control
- Supportive Care

Your treatment plan for stomach cancer will include a combination of these approaches that we will discuss at length with you and your family. At Fortis, we believe that you should be able to make an informed decision with regards to your treatment plan by having all the relevant information with you.

Our Team That Cares

Our only objective at Fortis is to work towards defeating your cancer. By choosing Fortis as your healthcare partner in this crucial journey of your life, assures that you get the best of minds in the business and also ensures that you will receive the most advanced therapeutic options and with latest equipments at our state-of-the-art facilities. At Fortis Bannerghatta, you not only have access to a specialist, but you have access to a specialist in your type of cancer.