Stomach cancer

A malignant tumour that arises from the lining of the stomach. The exact cause is unknown, but infection is thought to be linked to increased incidence. Other likely factors include smoking and alcohol intake; diet may also play a part, in particular eating large amounts of salted or pickled foods. Pernicious anaemia, a partial gastrectomy, and belonging to blood group A also seem to increase the risk. Stomach cancer rarely affects people under 40 and is more common in men. There may also be other symptoms indistinguishable from those of peptic ulcer. Diagnosis is usually made by gastroscopy or by a barium X-ray examination. The only effective treatment is total gastrectomy. In advanced cases in which the tumour has spread, radiotherapy and anticancer drugs may prolong life.


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