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Stomach Cancer and Treatment

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There were an estimated 18.1 million cancer cases around the world in 2020. Of these, 9.3 million cases were in men and 8.8 million in women. There are different types of cancer and stomach cancer is one of them. Stomach cancer also known as gastric cancer mostly affects older people, who are over 60 years old. 

Stomach cancer is the 5th most common cancer worldwide. It is the 4th most common cancer in men and the 7th most common cancer in women. There were more than 1 million new cases of stomach cancer in 2020. There are some factors that can increase the risk of stomach cancer including smoking, salty food, or a diet of highly processed food.

There are four types of stomach cancer mainly found in patients across the globe.

Adenocarcinoma

The most found stomach cancer is adenocarcinoma, which can be found in almost 80-85% of stomach cancer patients. It is a type of cancer that forms in glandular tissues. It starts in cells that produce mucus. Adenocarcinomas are malignant tumors that are found in glandular structures in epithelial tissue. 

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for stomach cancer in the US for 2023: About 26,500 new cases of stomach cancer (15,930 in men and 10,570 in women).

Signs and symptoms of adenocarcinoma

  • Fatigue (weakness and feeling tired)
  • Anaemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes)
  • Abdomen pain

Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST)

This type of cancer begins in the digestive system. GISTs most spread to the liver or peritoneum which is a layer of tissue that lines and covers abdominal organs. GIST happens mostly in the stomach and small intestine and can be benign and malignant.

Signs and symptoms

  • Trouble or pain when swallowing
  • Feeling very tired
  • Blood in the stool or vomit
  • Severe pain in the abdomen 

Carcinoid tumours

Gastric carcinoid tumours are rare tumors that develop within the gastric mucosa. Patients with GI carcinoid tumours show a 5-year survival rate ranging from 65% to 90%, 46% to 78% when the carcinoid extends to adjacent tissues or other regional lymph nodes, and 14% to 54% when it has advanced to distant parts of the body.

Signs and symptoms

  • Diarrhoea
  • Rectal pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea, vomiting and inability to pass stool
  • Redness or a feeling of warmth

Lymphoma

It is a rare malignancy that comprises less than 5% of all neoplasms in the stomach. Approximately 5% of the cancers found in the stomach can be attributed to lymphomas. It is the second most common cancer found in patients after adenocarcinoma. There are some early common symptoms related to lymphoma such as enlargement of one or more lymph nodes, weight loss, chest pain or pressure, and shortness of breath or cough.

New Developments

In recent years, one of the most effective drugs for cancer is immune checkpoint inhibitors. As per the American Cancer Society, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) is now approved to treat advanced stomach cancer in some people, typically after other treatments have been tried.  

Helicobacter pylori (h pylori) infection is a common type of bacteria that increases the risk of stomach cancer. A healthy diet is one of the effective methods to reduce the risk of stomach cancer for people who are infected with h pylori.

Technological advancements in advanced cancer diagnostics can create new opportunities for doctors for R&D purposes for a better treatment method for stomach cancer such as 

Bristol Myers Squibb received approval from the US FDA for Opdiva (nivolumab) for first-line-treatment of stomach cancer as an immunotherapy.

Market insight

The stomach cancer treatment market size was valued at around USD 4.22 Bn in 2022 and is estimated to reach USD 11.96 Bn by 2031, expanding at a CAGR of 13.1% during the forecast period, 2023–2031. The growth of the market is attributed to the growing advancement of technologies for the treatment of stomach cancer.

There are some global players working on R&D for a better treatment for stomach cancer such as F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.; Eli Lilly and Co.; GlaxoSmithKline PLC.; Novartis International AG; Merck KGaA; Otsuka Holdings Co. Ltd.; Pfizer, Inc.; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.; Celltrion Healthcare Co., Ltd.; Samsung Bioepis; Bristol Myers Squibb Company; and Mylan N.V.


Ellen Diamond , a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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