Stomach cancer is a cancer which develops from the mucosa cells of the stomach. In contrast to earlier, it has abated in frequency, which can be attributed to a generally healthier diet. The treatment usually consists of a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Around 900 people are diagnosed with stomach cancer in Switzerland every year. The cancer occurs predominantly in old age. Men are affected by it more often than women. To date, it has not been conclusively determined why cancer cells develop from the stomach mucosa. However, chronic stomach inflammation, infection with the helicobacter pylori bacterium as well as overconsumption of smoked or cured meat are deemed to be risk factors. Genetic predisposition also seems to play a certain role. Stomach cancer in immediate relatives increases the statistical risk of falling ill with stomach cancer yourself.
In an early stage, stomach cancer causes few through to no symptoms at all. Therefore, this type of cancer is often only discovered when it has already reached an advanced stage. Nausea as well as a feeling of pressure or fullness in the stomach can be signs of stomach cancer. Primarily if they last a long time and are accompanied by weight loss and a loss of appetite. This may be subsequently accompanied by stomach pain, vomiting, bloody vomit or blood in the stool. If stomach cancer causes bleeding, the stool is typically black in colour.
If there is suspected stomach cancer, a gastroscopy will be carried out. In this way, tissue samples of the stomach mucosa can be taken and the cancer cells detected. Computed tomography or an MRI examination provide will information on the spread of the cancer.
Treatments methods for stomach cancer include surgical procedures, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. When and in which combination the different measures are used depends on the stage of the disease. If stomach cancer is discovered in a very early stage, the affected mucosa can be removed with a gastroscopy. If the stomach cancer has already grown into the stomach wall, the stomach must be fully or partly removed. The surgery is often followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy. You can find out more about the surgical treatment options in the Gastric surgery section.