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Survival Rate for Stomach Cancer

written by: healthymaura • edited by: lrohner • updated: 5/10/2011

The survival rate for stomach cancer is almost 20 times greater with early detection. Learning the risk factors, symptoms and stages of stomach cancer is critical to early detection, diagnosis and treatment.

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    Like any other condition, the survivability of cancer depends on how early it is caught. Contact your doctor right away if you have any of the symptoms, as well as risk factors of the condition. Risk factors of the disease include a diet high in salty, pickled or smoked foods, smoking cigarettes, not eating enough fruits and vegetables, chronic gastritis, anemia, stomach polyps and a family history of cancer.

    There are four types of stomach cancer:

    • Beginning in the tissues of the nervous system, also called gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). GIST is very rare.
    • Beginning in hormone producing cells, called carcinoid cancer. This type of cancer is also quite rare.
    • Beginning in the immune system cells in the walls of the stomach, also called lymphoma, which is another rare strain of this type of cancer.
    • The most common type begins in the walls of the stomach in glandular cells is called adenocarcinoma, accounting for more than 90% of all stomach cancers.

    The survival rate and treatment depends on the type of stomach cancer and the stage at which it is diagnosed. Since the vast majority of stomach cancer sufferers have adenocarcinoma, this article will focus on that specific type.

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    Stages

    The "stages" of stomach cancer refer to how far the disease has progressed. There are five stages:

    • Stage 0: the cancer is only in the innermost layer of the stomach wall. This is the earliest possible detection.
    • Stage 1: the cancer is in the second or third layer of the stomach wall, but has not reached the lymph nodes.
    • Stage 2: the cancer is in all four layers of the stomach wall and may have reached the lymph nodes.
    • Stage 3: the cancer is all the layers of the stomach wall and has reached the lymph nodes.
    • Stage 4: cancer has spread to nearby tissues or to other parts of the body (metastasis).

    Treatment depends on what stage the cancer is diagnosed. The earlier the diagnosis, the better chance there is for survival. Treatment plans are based on the person's general health, the location and size of the tumor, and stage, and may include immunotherapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and/or surgery.

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    Survival Rates

    Survival rates are based on survival five years after the original diagnosis of stomach cancer. While these statistics provide an overview, remember that every situation is unique. The survival rate for stomach cancer is better if the cancer is in the lower part of the stomach and, as with most cancers, early detection is critical.

    People diagnosed in the first stage (0) may expect a 71 percent of survival after 5 years, including people who were entirely cured. If the cancer is diagnosed before spreading through all 4 layers of the stomach, there is a 40 percent survival rate. If the cancer has spread into the lymph nodes, the survival rate drops to 20 percent. And in the final stage (4) where the cancer has metastasized and spread to other tissues or organs, there is only a 4 percent survival rate after 5 years.

    If you have the symptoms of stomach cancer such as lack of appetite, abdominal pain, swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, or suspect that you may have stomach cancer due to family history or other risk factors, see you doctor for a screening as soon as possible.

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    References

    The Mayo Clinic - Stomach Cancer: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stomach-cancer/DS00301/DSECTION=causes

    Cancer Help UK - Gastric Cancer: http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/about-cancer/cancer-questions/what-is-gastric-cancer-and-what-is-the-survival-rate

    American Cancer Society - Stoamch Cancer Overview: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/stomachcancer/overviewguide/stomach-cancer-overview-survival-rates

    EHealthMD - Stomach Cancer: http://www.ehealthmd.com/library/stomachcancer/stc_stages.html