What is stomach cancer?
Stomach or gastric cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells form in the lining of the stomach. This cancer grow deeper into the tissue layers.
The main types of stomach cancer include:
- Adenocarcinoma, a cancer that develops from the cells that form the innermost lining of the stomach (the mucosa). Adenocarcinomas are the most common type of stomach cancers.
- Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system that is sometimes found in the wall of the stomach.
- A gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST) is a rare tumour that starts in the wall of the stomach in the interstitial cells. Some of these tumours are non-cancerous (benign), while others are cancerous (malignant). Although GISTs can be found anywhere in the digestive tract, most are found in the stomach.
- Carcinoid tumours start in the hormone-making cells of the stomach.
A range of tests and scans are available to diagnose stomach cancer.
About the stomach
The stomach is part of the digestive system. The stomach is a hollow muscular tube, with a sphincter (valve) at each end and is located on the upper left side of your abdomen.
Its function is to store food and drink you have ingested while the food is mixed with gastric juices and enzymes. These enzymes release a strong acid into the stomach, which kills any bacteria that entered with the food or drink. When the contents of the stomach are processed enough, they are released into the small intestine.
Parts of the stomach
- Cardia: The first part is closest to the oesophagus
- Fundus: The upper part of the stomach
- Body: The main part of the stomach
- Antrum: The lower portion (near the intestine), where the food mixes with gastric juice
- Pylorus: The last part of the stomach, which acts as a valve to control emptying of the stomach contents into the small intestine