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What is stomach cancer?

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Quick Answer

Stomach cancer is a condition in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and invade the tissue around the stomach, according to the National Cancer Institute. Most stomach cancers start off slow, according to the American Cancer Society, but can spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes.

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Full Answer

Early symptoms of stomach cancer include heartburn, indigestion, mild nausea and a bloated feeling after eating, according to WebMD. Symptoms of more advanced stages include blood in the stool, vomiting, weight loss and a painful feeling after eating. A doctor can confirm her diagnosis through the use of several tests. The first includes a series of X-rays of the upper parts of the digestive system. The second is called gastroscopy, in which the doctor uses a flexible camera to look inside one's stomach. Oftentimes, a small piece of tissue is removed for testing, which is called a biopsy.

The prognosis for people with stomach cancer is usually poor, because most cases of stomach cancer are detected a very late stages of development, according to WebMD. However, there are many treatment options if the cancer is found early enough, including radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy and targeted therapy, according to the American Cancer Society. Usually the best treatment plan for stomach cancer includes the use of two different types of treatment at the same time.

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