Gastric Cancer

Definition of stomach cancer: Cancer that forms in tissues lining the stomach. Also called gastric cancer.

Estimated new cases of stomach cancer in the United States in 2016: 26,370

Stomach (gastric) cancer is relatively rare as the 16th most common cancer in the United States. Incidence rates are much lower among whites than among other racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Incidence rates are highest in American Indians/Alaska Natives, followed by African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians/Pacific Islanders. African Americans and Asians/Pacific Islanders have the highest stomach cancer mortality rates, followed by Hispanics, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and whites. Men have much higher stomach cancer incidence and mortality rates than women. Stomach cancer can have a genetic link. ILCC offers genetic counseling and testing for hereditary gastric cancer.

Risk factors for stomach cancer include Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection of the stomach, smoking, family history of stomach cancer, a diet high in salted or in smoked foods, and a diet low in fruits and vegetables. There is no standard or routine screening test for stomach cancer. Standard treatments for stomach cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapychemoradiation and targeted therapy.

The following stages are used for gastric cancer:

Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ)

In stage 0, abnormal cells are found in the inside lining of the mucosa (innermost layer) of thestomach wall. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ.

Stage I

In stage I, cancer has formed in the inside lining of the mucosa (innermost layer) of the stomachwall. Stage I is divided into stage IA and stage IB, depending on where the cancer has spread.

Stage II

Stage II gastric cancer is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB, depending on where the cancer has spread.

  • Stage IIA: Cancer:
    • has spread to the subserosa (layer of tissue next to the serosa) of the stomach wall; or
    • has spread to the muscle layer of the stomach wall and is found in 1 or 2 lymph nodesnear the tumor; or
    • may have spread to the submucosa (layer of tissue next to the mucosa) of the stomach wall and is found in 3 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor.
  • Stage IIB: Cancer:
    • has spread to the serosa (outermost layer) of the stomach wall; or
    • has spread to the subserosa (layer of tissue next to the serosa) of the stomach wall and is found in 1 or 2 lymph nodes near the tumor; or
    • has spread to the muscle layer of the stomach wall and is found in 3 to 6 lymph nodes near the tumor; or
    • may have spread to the submucosa (layer of tissue next to the mucosa) of the stomach wall and is found in 7 or more lymph nodes near the tumor.

Stage III

Stage III gastric cancer is divided into stage IIIA, stage IIIB, and stage IIIC, depending on where the cancer has spread.

Stage IV

In stage IV, cancer has spread to distant parts of the body.


All information was taken from the NCI (National Cancer Institute)

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