Stomach cancer, being one of the major cause of cancer deaths worldwide, has affected people of all races. The prognosis for stomach cancer primarily refers to the likely outcome of this life-threatening disease, which comprises duration, complications, recovery prospects, survival rates, death rates, etc., associated with it. This article provides some information on the same.
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the inner lining of the stomach. The disease normally does not show any prominent signs or symptoms of illness until the later stages, hence, by the time it is diagnosed, stomach cancer prognosis becomes quite poor. Stomach cancer usually grows over time and gradually spreads more deeply into the stomach and its surrounding areas. Eventually, it spreads (metastasizes) outside the stomach to the nearby lymph nodes, the liver, the lungs, and other organs. Being the seventh leading cause of cancer deaths, it mainly affects people over the age of 60, and is more common in men. There are different factors that can increase its risk in people, like a diet rich in smoked, salted, or pickled foods, alcohol and tobacco consumption, or a family history of chronic stomach disorders such as gastritis.
Early Stage Cancer Symptoms
The early cancer symptoms are usually vague or minor, however, some of them are as follows:
- Indigestion and stomach discomfort
- Bloated feeling after eating
- Mild nausea
- Loss of appetite
Advanced Stage Cancer Symptoms
As the cancer develops, following symptoms can be observed in the affected people:
- Blood in the stool
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- Severe stomach pain
- Jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin)
- Ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen)
The treatment for this medical condition primarily involves surgery, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, presently, surgery is the best way to treat the disease, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used to alleviate the symptoms and slow down the growth of cancer cells to prolong survival. Surgery, also called gastrectomy, involves the removal of a part or all the stomach, sometimes along with nearby lymph glands. During chemotherapy, anti-cancer drugs are given to the affected person either orally or by injecting into a vein. Radiation therapy involves high energy radiations used to attack or destroy the cancer cells. However, both the therapies do damage some of the healthy tissues which can cause side effects like nausea, hair loss, decreased blood count, etc. Therefore, while treating, it is made sure that the affected person continues to receive proper nutrition to overcome these side effects.
Stomach Cancer Symptoms Prognosis
Stomach cancer prognosis depends upon the type and location of the cancer, the stage of the disease (i.e. the extent to which the cancer has metastasized, or spread), the rate with which the cancer cells grow and spread, the affected person’s age, general health, and the response to treatment. However, prognosis is only a prediction based on these factors to determine the survival chances or life expectancy of the affected person.
|Tis N0 M0
|Also called carcinoma in situ, it is the earliest stage of cancer where the cancer cells don’t grown beyond the inner lining of the stomach.
|T1 N0 M0
|In this stage, the cancer extends up to the mucosa into the connective tissue (lamina propria) or the submucosa. But it has not affected the main muscle layer of the stomach called the muscularis, and any of the lymph nodes.
|T1 N1 M0
|In this stage, the cancer has spread to as many as 6 lymph nodes near the stomach.
|T2a/b N0 M0
|The cancer has developed into the main muscle layer of the stomach wall, the muscularis, and the subserosa.
|T1 N2 M0
|The cancer has grown in to the main stomach muscle area, and has spread to somewhere between 7 and 15 lymph nodes near the stomach.
|T2a/b N1 M0
|In this stage, the cancer has fully developed into the main stomach muscle area and the subserosa.
|T3 N0 M0
|The cancer has developed through all the layers outside to the stomach, but has not spread to any lymph nodes.
|T2a/b N2 M0
|The cancer has grown outside the stomach, and has spread to between 7 and 15 lymph nodes near the stomach.
|T3 N1 M0
|The cancer has developed completely through all the layers outside the stomach but has not affected nearby tissues and organs.
|T4 N0 M0
|The cancer has developed entirely through the stomach wall and into other nearby organs, like the spleen, intestines, kidneys, or pancreas, but has not spread to any lymph nodes.
|T3 N2 M0
|In this stage, the cancer has grown through all the layers to the exterior of stomach but has not affected any nearby tissues or organs. However, it has spread to between 7 and 15 lymph nodes near the stomach.
|T4 N1-3 M0
|The cancer has spread through the stomach wall to all nearby organs and lymph nodes, but has not affected the distant organs.
|T1-3 N3 M0
|The cancer has spread to more than 15 lymph nodes, but it has not affected the distant organs.
|Any T, any N, M1
|In this stage, the cancer has spread to all the distant organs like the brain, bones, lungs, liver, etc.
T= Status of Primary tumor; N = Regional lymph nodes; M = Distant Metastases.
Stomach cancer prognosis mainly depends on what stage the cancer is diagnosed and the response to the treatment. Research shows that nearly 50% of people who have been diagnosed with this medical condition during the early stages live for approximately five years or more. Unfortunately, only 10% to 20% of its cases are diagnosed in the early stages, and so the overall five-year survival rate is somewhere around 21%.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.