Gastrointestinal Cancer Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention – Gastrointestinal Cancer Specialist Dr. Anup Toshniwal
What is Gastrointestinal Cancer?
Normally, cells in the body will grow and divide to replace old or damaged cells. This growth is highly regulated, and once enough cells are produced to replace the old ones, normal cells will stop dividing. Tumors occur when there is an error in this regulation and cells continue to grow uncontrolled.
Gastric cancer, or stomach cancer, is cancer of the stomach. Gastric cancer occurs when cells in the lining of the stomach grow uncontrollably and form tumors that can invade normal tissues and spread to other parts of the body. Cancers are described by the types of cells from which they arise. About 90-95% of gastric cancers arise from the lining of the stomach, called adenocarcinoma. There are other cancers that can arise in the stomach, including gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), lymphoma, and carcinoid tumors, among others.
When stomach cancer does cause signs and symptoms, they can include:
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss (without trying)
- Abdominal (belly) pain
- Vague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
- Feeling full after eating only a small meal
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Vomiting, with or without blood
- Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen
- Blood in the stool
- Feeling tired or weak, as a result of having too few red blood cells (anemia)
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), if cancer spreads to the liver
Most of these symptoms are more likely to be caused by things other than stomach cancer, such as a viral infection or an ulcer. Some of these symptoms may also be caused by other types of cancer.