Stomach Cancer also called gastric cancer refers to the growth of a cancerous tumor in the stomach. It can develop in any part of the stomach and grow along the stomach wall into the esophagus or small intestine. Stomach cancer is the second most common form of cancer
It also may extend through the stomach wall and spread to nearby lymph nodes and to organs such as the liver, pancreas and colon. Stomach cancer also may spread to distant organs, such as the lungs, the lymphnodes above the collar bone, and the ovaries. When stomach cancer spreads to an ovary, the tumor in the ovary is called a Krukenberg tumor.
Each year, about 24,000 people in the United States are diagnosed as suffering from stomach cancer.
The disease affects men twice as often as women, and is more common in Afro-American people than in Caucasian people. Stomach cancer is more common in Japan, Korea, parts of Eastern Europe, and Latin America than in the United States.
People in these areas eat many foods that are preserved by drying, smoking, salting, or pickling. Scientists believe that eating foods preserved in these ways may play a role in the development of stomach cancer. On the other hand, fresh foods (especially fresh fruits and vegetables and properly frozen or refrigerated fresh foods) may protect against this disease.
Some studies suggest that a type of bacteria called Helicobacter pilori, which may cause stomach inflammation and ulcers, may be an important risk factor for this disease.
The overall five-year survival rate for people with stomach cancer in the United States is 22%. One reason for this is that most stomach cancers are found at an advanced stage. The outlook for survival is worse, if the cancer is in the upper part of the stomach.