Stomach cancer occurs when abnormal cancer cells grow in the stomach. Most stomach cancers form in the stomach body, but any part of the stomach can be affected by this cancer.
There are different ways to treat stomach cancer, depending on the stage it is in. The Rx Advocates believe that affording medication should be the last thing to worry about when battling cancer.
Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is a type of cancer that begins in the stomach. It is one of the most prevalent cancers in the world.
According to the American Cancer Society, there have been about 26,380 new stomach cancer cases in the U.S. in 2022. That was almost 16,000 men and almost 10,500 women. There have been about 11,090 deaths from stomach cancer. This was around 6,700 men and 4,400 women.
Around 1.5% of new cancers in the U.S. every year are a type of stomach cancer.
Different Types of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer often takes a slow time to develop. The lining of the stomach will experience pre-cancerous changes with no symptoms. This causes it to go undetected in the early stages.
There are a few different types of stomach cancer.
- Adenocarcinomas: These account for 90%-95% of stomach cancers. They develop in the mucosa or the deepest part of the stomach lining. Two types of adenocarcinomas are:
- Intestinal: The prognosis for these is a little better.
- Diffuse: Harder to treat and less common than intestinal.
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs)
- Neuroendocrine tumors (including carcinoids)
Stomach Cancer Causes
The cells that make up the tumor of stomach cancer form because of a genetic change (mutation). While researchers have not figured out why the mutations occur, there are some circumstances that can increase the chances of stomach cancer developing. These include:
- A history of stomach cancer in the family
- Epstein-Barr virus infection
- History of ulcers or polyps in the stomach
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- A poor diet history:
- Too few fruits and vegetables
- Too many foods that are salty, fatty, smoked, or pickled
- Tobacco use:
- Chewing tobacco
- Excessive alcohol use
- Too much exposure to coal, rubber, and metal
- Autoimmune atrophic gastritis
Genetic conditions that can increase the risk of stomach cancer:
- Lynch syndrome
- Familial adenomatous polyposis
- Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
- Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer
- Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID)
Symptoms of Stomach Cancer
Many times, all types of cancers can be caught early with pre-screening tests, even if there are no symptoms present. Screening is not routine for stomach cancer in the U.S.
When symptoms are present for stomach cancer, they can include:
- Poor appetite
- Vomiting; may include blood
- Blood in the stool
- Unexpected weight loss
- Feeling a sense of fullness after eating a small amount
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Abdominal discomfort, usually near the navel
- Feeling tired or weak because of anemia
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Abdominal pain
- Jaundice; occurs if cancer has spread to the liver
When you have any type of cancer, you will have a team of doctors and specialists. Your stomach cancer team will walk you through the different treatment options. They will inform you of the risk, benefits, and side effects of each type.
- Targeted drug therapy
- Radiation therapy
- Palliative (supportive) care
There are different medications and combinations of medications that may be prescribed for stomach cancer. Some of those include:
- Adrucil (Fluorouracil)
- Jelmyto (Mitomycin)
- Opdivo (Nivolumab)
- Cyramza (Ramucirumab)
- Keytruda (Pembrolizumab)
- Enhertu (Fam-Trastuzumab Deruxtecan-nxki)
- Herceptin (Trastuzumab)
- Taxotere (Docetaxel)
Help With Medications
Cancer is difficult to go through. At The Rx Advocates, we know that medications can be costly in today’s economy. You should not have to worry about how you will pay for your necessary cancer medications. We want to help.