Understanding stomach cancer


At Icon Cancer Centre Hong Kong we offer the latest in treatment methods and technologies for a range of cancers.

Our experienced team of clinical oncologists are dedicated to delivering exceptional care and supporting you through your diagnosis, treatment, and beyond.

Understanding stomach cancer

If you have been diagnosed with stomach cancer, it’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed by the amount of new information people are sharing with you.

Knowing more about your cancer and what to expect before and after treatment can help you prepare. The following information outlines what your cancer is and how it is diagnosed and treated.

We encourage you to speak to your doctor and care team, who are here to support you throughout your time at Icon.

We will always have time to talk to you and answer your questions.

About stomach cancer

Stomach cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably in the lining of the stomach, forming a cancerous tumour.

Stomach cancer can be described in stages depending on how early or advanced the cancer is. These include:

  • Stage 0 – The cancer is in its earliest stage and has not spread beyond the inner layer of the stomach wall
  • Stage I a – The cancer has spread through the inner layer of the stomach wall
  • Stage I b – The cancer has spread through the inner layer of the stomach wall and is found in up to six surrounding lymph nodes. Alternatively, the cancer has spread through to the muscularis layer of the stomach wall
  • Stage II – The cancer has spread completely through the inner layer of the stomach wall and is found in up to 15 surrounding lymph nodes, or has spread to the muscularis layer and is found in up to six surrounding lymph nodes. Alternatively, the cancer has spread to the serosal layer but to the lymph nodes
  • Stage III a – The cancer has spread to the muscularis layer and is found in seven to 15 lymph nodes near the tumour. Alternatively, the cancer has spread to the serosal layer of the stomach wall, affects one to six lymph nodes near the tumour and has spread to nearby organs
  • Stage III b – The cancer has spread to the outermost layer of the stomach wall and is found in seven to 15 lymph nodes near the tumour
  • Stage IV – The cancer has spread to nearby organs and at least one lymph node, affects more than 15 lymph nodes, or distant areas of the body including the liver, lungs, brain or bone

Diagnosis

Stomach cancer diagnosis involves a number of tests. You may undergo a barium enema, a medical procedure used to examine the stomach while barium sulfate coats the lining of the oesophagus and stomach; or a gastroscopy, where a camera is passed through the mouth to identify any damage to the stomach lining and take a sample of tissue for biopsy.

Further tests may also be required, often to see if the cancer has spread beyond the liver. These include a CT scan, ultrasound scan or PET scan.

Treatment

Treatment for stomach cancer depends on the type that you have, and your age, medical history and treatment preferences. Options include surgery (which may involve removing part or all of the stomach), radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy.

Common questions

It’s natural to want to know more about your cancer when first diagnosed. We’ve included some common questions that patients ask about liver cancer to help you. Your treatment team at Icon can also answer any additional questions that you have at any point in time.

What are the symptoms of stomach cancer?

Common symptoms of stomach cancer include tiredness, loss of appetite, weight loss, persistent indigestion, bloating after eating, nausea or vomiting, abdominal distention and blood in the stools or black stools.

What causes stomach cancer?

Certain risk factors can play a role in the development of stomach cancer. These include:

  • Pre-existing conditions – Including chronic gastritis or stomach polyps
  • High alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Family history – Having one or more family members with stomach cancer increases your risk of developing stomach cancer

Making an appointment

Find out how to make an appointment at Icon Cancer Centre, or request more information from your nearest centre.
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Care team

Every member of Icon’s team is here to help. Here are some of the team members you may meet and how they will be involved in your treatment.
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Our doctors

Icon brings together a strong and prominent team of clinical oncologists.
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