Types of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer. Light micrograph of a section through an adenocarcinoma of the stomach. Tumour cells are purple, connective tissue is brown. Adenocarcinomas are cancers that arise from glandular tissue in the lining of an organ. This is the most common type of stomach cancer. Its main risk factors are a diet high in salt, infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori and smoking. Symptoms include indigestion, pain, difficulty swallowing and nausea or vomiting. Treatment is with surgery to remove the tumour, combined with chemotherapy. Magnification: x60 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
There are several types of stomach cancer. Virtually all stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas, meaning that the cancer begins in the glandular tissue that lines the inside of the stomach. Adenocarcinomas are further classified as either intestinal or diffuse. This is important because the classification influences the treatment and outcome of the disease.
Types of Stomach Cancer
- Proximal (Cardia) stomach cancer – Affects the upper part of the stomach and may extend up into the gastroesophageal junction.
- Non-cardia stomach cancer – Affects any other parts of the stomach and may develop from prolonged periods of inflammation and irritation. This type of stomach cancer is commonly associated with chronic infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria and and follows a step-by-step progression from chronic gastritis to malignancy. Environmental factors such as smoking, high salt intake, and alcohol consumption are all risk factors for this type of stomach cancer.
- Diffuse stomach cancer – Grows within the stomach wall as scattered cells without forming a distinct tumor, does not begin with a pre-malignant condition, and does not appear to be related to environmental factors such as diet or smoking, although infection with Helicobacter pylori raises the risk of this disease as well. The most important factor in diffuse gastric cancer is a genetic mutation that silences a gene called E-cadherin. Approximately 50% of patients with this type of stomach cancer have this gene mutation. There is also a hereditary form of diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC) which is caused by the loss of function in the CDH1 gene. People with this syndrome have a very high risk of stomach cancer.
Other Cancers of the Stomach
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) – Abnormal growth of the connective tissues of the stomach wall
- Lymphoma – Uncontrolled growth of the immune cells of the stomach
- Carcinoid tumors – cancer of the hormone-producing cells of the stomach
- Linitis Plastica – a rare type of stomach cancer that begins in the lining of the stomach and spreads to the muscles of the stomach wall. This causes the wall of the stomach to become thick, hard, and rubbery, which leads to trouble digesting food. This is also called gastric scirrhous carcinoma.
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Debbie’s Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer (“DDF”) is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or other health care services. Debbie’s Dream Foundation staff cannot answer medical questions or provide treatment recommendations. DDF may provide information to you about physicians, products, services, clinical trials or treatments related to stomach cancer, but DDF does not recommend nor endorse any particular health care resource. You are advised to direct all medical questions to your health care professionals and to freely seek other opinions. In addition, please note that personal information you provide to DDF during telephone and/or email communications are kept highly confidential and it may be stored and used to help DDF achieve its mission of assisting patients with, and finding cures and treatments for, stomach cancer. Stored constituent information may be used to inform DDF programs and activities. Information also may be provided in aggregate or limited formats to third parties to guide future stomach cancer research and treatment efforts. DDF will not provide personal directly identifying information (such as your name or contact information) to such third parties without your prior written consent unless required or permitted by law to do so.