Almost 95% of stomach cancers cases arise in the stomach’s lining, and this is called adenocarcinoma. Besides this, there are many other types of stomach cancer depending on where the cancer originates, such as carcinoid tumors, GIST or gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and lymphoma.
Every year, almost 27,510 new cases of different types of stomach cancer are recorded. It is found to be more prevalent among males, and the average age when the condition is diagnosed is 68 years.
1. Why does stomach cancer develop?
While it is often believed that environmental factors and diet may be responsible for the condition to an extent, the exact cause is not known. Any diet that comprises of pickled, heavily-salted and smoked foods lead to increased chances of getting this type of cancer. In contrast, a diet rich in fiber foods, fruits, and vegetables will minimize risks. Besides, tobacco and heavy alcohol use are also associated with gastric cancer.
There may be a genetic link too. For instance, people with blood type A are found to be at higher risk for this type of cancer. Genetic diseases like familial adenomatous polyposis, Lynch syndrome, and Peutz Jeghers syndrome make an individual liable to get this disease. HDGC or hereditary diffuse gastric cancer is a genetic abnormality that is known to increase the risks of getting stomach cancer. However, simply because you have a risk factor does not mean you will end up getting this cancer.
2. New research on different types of stomach cancer treatments
A lot of research on different types of stomach cancer is being conducted in various university hospitals, medical establishments, and institutions worldwide. Some of it has been discussed below.
- Research has found that differences in diet may be responsible for the occurrence of different types of stomach cancer. For instance, diets that include high consumption of preserved meat increase risks.
- Studies show that some variations of H.pylori are linked to stomach cancer. Moreover, some inherited traits relating to blood groups can decide whether a person infected with H.pylori develops stomach cancer or not.
- Chemoprevention refers to the use of man-made or natural chemicals for lowering the risks of developing stomach cancer.
- Free radicals can damage genes that are important parts of the cells. If the damage is too great, the cells may turn cancerous. Antioxidants are nutrients that are capable of destroying these free radicals. Some antioxidants include vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and selenium.
- If people infected with H.pylori can be treated with antibiotics, it may help prevent gastric cancers. Antibiotics may prevent the recurrence of this cancer in certain cases.
- Sentinel lymph node mapping technique is now being used for identifying whether the stomach cancer has spread to lymph nodes. Here, the surgeon injects a dye into cancer cells, which helps detect which lymph nodes must be removed, but the method is still not fallible.
- New chemotherapy drugs are being studied, as are new ways of administering chemo. For instance, doctors are exploring the idea of infusing chemo medication directly into the patient’s abdomen to minimize side-effects.
- Targeted therapy sometimes works better than regular chemotherapy. For instance, some stomach cancer types are caused by HER2 protein, and medications that target this protein may be used for treating this cancer.