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 and Delivery of High Quality Cancer Care in Essex"
NHS Essex Cancer Network

Stomach Cancer

About

Stomach cancer, or gastric cancer, is a fairly uncommon type of cancer. Around 7,000 people are diagnosed with it each year in the UK.

The initial symptoms of stomach cancer are vague and easy to mistake for other less serious conditions. They include:

Symptoms of advanced stomach cancer can include:

  • blood in your stools, or black stools
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss

As the early symptoms of stomach cancer are similar to those of many other conditions, the cancer is often advanced by the time it's diagnosed. It's therefore important to get any possible symptoms of stomach cancer checked by your GP as soon as possible.

Read more about diagnosing stomach cancer.

Who's affected

The exact cause of stomach cancer is still unclear, although you're more likely to develop it if you:

  • are male
  • are 55 years of age or older
  • smoke
  • have a diet low in fibre and high in processed food or red meat
  • have a diet that contains a lot of salted and pickled foods
  • have a stomach infection caused by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria 

Read more about the causes of stomach cancer.

Types of stomach cancer

There are several different types of stomach cancer. More than 95% of stomach cancers develop in the cells of the stomach lining and are known as adenocarcinomas.

Less common types of stomach cancer include lymphoma of the stomach, which develops in the lymphatic tissue (tissue that drains away fluid and helps fight infection), and gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs), which develop in the muscle or connective tissue of the stomach wall.

How stomach cancer is treated

Many cases of stomach cancer can't be completely cured, but it's still possible to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life using chemotherapy and in some cases radiotherapy and surgery.

If operable, surgery can cure stomach cancer as long as all of the cancerous tissue can be removed.

Surgery to remove some or all of the stomach is known as a gastrectomy. It will still be possible to eat normally after a gastrectomy, but you'll probably have to adjust the size of your portions. 

Chemotherapy can also be used before surgery to help shrink the tumour and sometimes after surgery to help prevent the cancer returning.

Read more about treating stomach cancer.

Living with stomach cancer

Living with stomach cancer and the effects of surgery can be tough, but there are a range of services that can provide social, psychological and financial support.

Read more about living with stomach cancer.

Outlook

The outlook for stomach cancer depends on several factors, including your age, your general health, and how far the cancer has spread (the stage of the condition).

Unfortunately, as stomach cancer isn't often picked up until the later stages, the outlook isn't as good as for some other cancers. Of all those with stomach cancer, about:

  • 42 out of 100 people (42%) will live for at least one year after diagnosis
  • 19 out of 100 people (19%) will live for at least five years after diagnosis
  • 15 out of every 100 people (15%) will live for at least 10 years after diagnosis

In the UK, around 5,000 people die from stomach cancer each year.

Further information on stomach cancer

Information Prescription Service

To access the Information Prescription Service and the national cancer information pathway for stomach cancer please click on the link below. Then click on 'Specialist information from our charity partners'

www.nhs.uk

Macmillan Cancer Support Website

www.macmillan.org.uk

Cancer Research UK Website

www.cancerresearchuk.org

Further Information

Visit or phone a local cancer information centre

There are several cancer information and support centres in Essex Cancer Network where anyone affected by cancer can be sure of a warm welcome and high quality, accurate, evidence-based information:

Basildon Hospital Macmillan Info and Support Centre, Outpatients Dept, Basildon Hospital, staffed Monday 2pm - Friday 12.30pm,tel: 0845 155 3111 extension 4908

Macmillan Info and Support Centre,Essex County Hospital, Outpatients Dept, Monday - Friday office hours, tel: 01206 747474

Information Resource Service, St Luke's House, Corringham,Thurrock, Monday to Friday office hours, tel: 01375 648170

Lantern Suite, Farleigh Hospice,Chelmsford, Monday to Friday office hours, tel: 01245 457418

Hospice Outreach Project Information Bus, Farleigh Hospice, covers the Chelmsford area. Contact Farleigh Hospice as above

For more information, please contact the service direct.

 

Visit your local library in Essex Cancer Network

Essex, Southend and Thurrock library services have worked in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and the Essex Cancer Network to establish collections of quality assured information books and pamphlets about cancer. These can be accessed at any library: just ask. Additionally some staff at libraries have been trained to help patients use the Information Prescription Service.

Contact Macmillan Cancer Support Helplines

If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just someone to talk to, call free, Monday to Friday 9am - 8pm (interpretation service available) tel: 0808 808 0000

For financial queries tel: 0808 808 2232

 

Remember: Stay safe online when looking for support!

Internet chat rooms and message forums can be valuable sources of support and comfort, enabling you to meet others in the same position. However, there is potential for abuse - please read these guidelines before you set off to explore...

Click here to download the draft guidelines

 

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