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Understanding Gastric Cancer

Gastric cancer, often referred to as stomach cancer, is a malignancy that begins in the cells lining the stomach. Several factors increase the risk of developing gastric cancer, including infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria, a family history of the disease, smoking, and a diet high in salty or smoked foods. Gastric cancer can be categorized into several types, with adenocarcinoma being the most common. Other rare types include lymphoma, stromal tumors, and carcinoid tumors. Early-stage gastric cancer often shows no symptoms. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include abdominal pain, indigestion, unintentional weight loss, and difficulty swallowing. Diagnosis typically involves endoscopy, where a flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the stomach to examine the lining and take biopsies. Imaging studies like CT scans and X-rays may also be used. Gastric cancer is staged to determine the extent of the disease. Stages range from 0 (limited to the inner lining) to IV (spread to distant organs). Treatment options depend on the stage and location of the cancer but may include surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapies, or immunotherapy.

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Dr. Raajit Chanana

Senior Consultant Medical Oncology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, New Delhi.

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Gastric cancer, often referred to as stomach cancer, is a malignancy that begins in the cells lining the stomach. Several factors increase the risk of developing gastric cancer, including infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria, a family history of the disease, smoking, and a diet high in salty or smoked foods. Gastric cancer can be categorized into several types, with adenocarcinoma being the most common. Other rare types include lymphoma, stromal tumors, and carcinoid tumors. Early-stage gastric cancer often shows no symptoms. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include abdominal pain, indigestion, unintentional weight loss, and difficulty swallowing. Diagnosis typically involves endoscopy, where a flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the stomach to examine the lining and take biopsies. Imaging studies like CT scans and X-rays may also be used. Gastric cancer is staged to determine the extent of the disease. Stages range from 0 (limited to the inner lining) to IV (spread to distant organs). Treatment options depend on the stage and location of the cancer but may include surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapies, or immunotherapy.