Oncology is one of the most terrible and dangerous diseases to date, especially when it comes to malignant cell division in the digestive organs. Depending on the stage, stomach cancer can have various symptoms and signs, in the presence of which it is necessary to immediately consult a doctor. Early diagnosis with treatment will help to avoid the spread of metastases and prolong the patient’s life.
What is stomach cancer?
A malignant neoplasm originating on the mucous membrane of the epithelium of the stomach and is difficult to treat. This is the medical description of one of the most common diseases in the world – oncology of the stomach. A tumor can develop in any part or department of the stomach, and eventually spread to nearby organs with metastases. According to statistics, incidence rates in America from gastrointestinal cancer die up to 100 thousand people.
A malignant tumor of the stomach can be asymptomatic for several years, and the patient learns about its presence only by examining or undergoing a biopsy of the walls of the esophageal mucosa. However, as a rule, signs of cancer are always present. According to the clinical manifestation, they are divided into stages:
- The first stage is drowsiness, fatigue, fever, weight loss for no reason, fatigue.
- The second stage – frequent flatulence, impaired bowel movements, belching with air, heartburn, nausea and vomiting of gastric contents, pain when swallowing food.
- The third is belching with the smell of rotten eggs, a feeling of fullness of the stomach, regurgitation, it is difficult for a patient to swallow food on his own.
- Fourth – dramatic changes occur in all systems and organs, and all the symptoms described above are intensified and become permanent.
Gastric cancer vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are not always evidence of a tumor in the digestive tract. This symptom has diagnostic value only in combination with other signs:
- Food is rejected by the stomach immediately after its intake, while there are no signs of its digestion by gastric enzymes. Concomitant symptoms: pallor of the skin, weight loss, stomach pain.
- If the gag reflex causes a lack of food intake, there is a possibility that intoxication of the body provoked a similar state. Multiple stomach cramps, the appearance of veins or clots of a dark red or light color will indicate the presence of cancer.ё
At the initial stage of development, the disease does not have a clear clinical picture. However, when a detailed examination of the state of his health, a person can recognize the first symptoms of stomach cancer. It:
- decreased appetite, a feeling of fullness comes after eating small amounts of food;
- the appearance of weakness, apathy, increased fatigue, drowsiness;
- feeling of heaviness, flatulence;
- baseless weight loss on a regular basis;
- the appearance of depression, excessive exposure to stress;
- the appearance of aversion to your favorite dishes, especially meat or fish – a syndrome of small signs;
- periodic nausea with vomiting.
Symptoms of the last days of life
Oncological tumors of the stomach affect all organs, which is why it is impossible to confuse the signs of impending death with nothing:
- constant fatigue is noted and there is a desire to sleep;
- appetite decreases, the patient does not feel like drinking or eating;
- wheezing appears, breathing slows down, becomes heavy;
- a person begins to get lost in time and space;
- immediately before death, there is a bluish plaque on the nails, hands and feet become cold, venous nets can appear on the limbs.
Symptoms in children
Malignant tumors in the stomach are sometimes diagnosed in a child. However, at the initial stages of development, the symptoms of this disease are often confused with manifestations of other diseases: gastritis, colitis, enterocolitis or biliary dyskinesia. The prescribed treatment often gives relief, but only for a while, and often smooths out the main symptoms.
Signs indicating the presence of a tumor in a child, from a medical point of view, are divided into several categories:
- Early minor symptoms – poor health, weakness, passivity, drowsiness, refusal to play.
- Gradually increasing signs – abdominal pain, colic, belching with air, bloating, the appearance of loose stools, sometimes with impurities or streaks of blood.
- Extensive lesion – the size and localization point of cancer can be felt with your hands, the effect of an acute abdomen, the appearance of vomiting of gastric juice with the remains of undigested food, the appetite completely disappears, and there may be a prolonged constipation.
Causes of occurrence
A detailed study of the symptoms of this disease is a separate science – gastroenterology. However, even many years of laboratory research and scientific work do not allow to establish the exact cause of cancer. Doctors were only able to identify factors that could somehow provoke abnormal cell division. Possible causes of cancer:
- prolonged exposure to the human body of toxic substances or chemicals;
- the bacterium Helicobacter pylori changes the structure of the mucous membrane and disrupts the digestive functions;
- exposure to radiation;
- some groups of drugs provoke tumor growth with a long course of treatment;
- abuse of tobacco and alcohol;
- precancerous diseases – atrophic gastritis, adenoma, pernicious anemia, duodenal ulcer, extensive damage from the inside by benign polyps, chronic gastritis.
To prescribe a more effective course of treatment in medical practice, it is customary to divide the types of cancer according to several criteria. According to the histological orientation and the features of macroscopic growth of pathogenic cells, gastrointestinal cancer is divided into such varieties:
- Mushroom or polyp form – damage to the mucosa to the internal part of the organ, its borders have a clear structure, the neoplasm is located on the leg, ulceration of the tumor is absent.
- An ulcerated lump or saucer-like tumor will look like a saucer. Exophytic tumor growth is noted, cancer is formed in the lumen of the stomach, a long period before the appearance of metastases is characteristic.
- The ulcerative-infiltrative form – does not have clear distinctions, the tumor grows infantile.
- Diffuse cancer – formed in the submucosal and mucous layers, may contain minor ulcerations.
- Adenocarcinoma, which is detected in almost 90% of cases of diagnosis of this disease. The tumor affects the secretory cells.
- Squamous cell carcinoma – the spread of cancerous bodies begins with the cells responsible for the production and production of mucus.
- Glandular tumor – Tumor spreads due to atypical degradation of glandular cells.
In addition to the main classifications, doctors distinguish several stages of cancer development:
- Zero – when the tumor is only on the surface of the mucous membrane, it can be examined only under a microscope, there is no damage to the lymph nodes.
- Stage 1a – there is no metastasis of cells to other organs, lesions of the gastric connective tissue.
- Stage 1b – the tumor does not extend beyond the submucosal layer, but at the same time atypical cells can be found in the lymph nodes.
- Stage 2a – the neoplasm encompasses the muscle membrane, affects 3 to 6 lymph nodes.
- 2b — the tumor begins to enter the surface of the stomach, cancerous inclusions are identified in 7 or more lymph nodes.
- The third degree – metastases are found in individual organs and distant lymph nodes.
- The fourth stage – the tumor spreads from the walls of the stomach to almost all adjacent internal organs. Characteristic metastasis to the liver, intestines, lungs, pelvic organs.
How fast is developing
Precancerous pathologies can exist inside the stomach and still not manifest themselves for many years:
- chronic atrophic gastritis – a disease in which a thinning of the gastric mucosa occurs and cell proliferation processes are disrupted with the formation of a tumor;
- stomach ulcer – a long non-healing wound in the wall of the stomach;
- erosion of the stomach;
- polyps of the stomach is a benign tumor, but there is a risk of its transition to a malignant one;
- duodeno-gastric reflux is a precancerous condition of the stomach in which the contents of the duodenum are thrown into the cavity of the stomach, bile acids are a strong irritant to the gastric mucosa and provoke the formation of a tumor.
Cases are known when malignant neoplasms from 10 years old were detected. Due to the slow formation and unclear symptoms, cancer is often determined in the later stages, when even the most radical treatment can only partially relieve pain. The exception is only the case when the development of cancer was provoked by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria – then the development of cancer is accelerated several times.
Cancer develops from genetically modified foreign tumor cells that have the ability to rapidly multiply and show signs of malignancy:
- rapid growth – the cancer cell is able to divide every 30 minutes;
- germination in tissue – a malignant tumor grows through healthy tissues, destroying them, while severe pain occurs;
- metastases – a process in which cells can break away from a primary tumor, spread through blood or lymph vessels to other organs (even distant ones), attach there and give rise to a secondary tumor;
- increased vascularization – the tumor secretes specific substances that feed the vessels around the tumor – this increases the blood flow to the formation, at the same time there is insufficient nutrition of neighboring healthy tissues (a symptom of “robbery”);
- toxin formation – a cancerous tumor releases poisons that poison and deplete the entire body.
The occurrence of cancer of the gastrointestinal tract is often accompanied by complications, among which the most likely are:
- Bleeding from a tumor. It manifests itself in symptoms of sudden weakness, loss of consciousness, the appearance of vomiting with blood, porridge-like black stools. Treatment options for bleeding: cauterization of gastric ulcers or dissection of the gastric walls operatively.
- Scarring of the pylorus at the junction of the duodenum. Symptoms of cicatricial stenosis: partial or complete obstruction of food, weakness, constant nausea and vomiting, fetid burping, a feeling of fullness of the stomach.