Stomach cancer, also referred to as gastric cancer, develops in the stomach, which is located in the upper abdomen just under the rib cage. The stomach is made up of five layers of tissue that each play a specific role in the stomach’s primary function, the digestion of food. Cancer occurs when the cells within the tissue become abnormal and reproduce at a higher rate, forming a tumor. While stomach cancer may develop in any of these layers, it tends to develop most frequently in the mucosa, or the innermost layer, where stomach acid and other digestive enzymes are produced.
As with other types of tumors, tumors in the stomach can be either benign or malignant. A benign tumor typically does not spread to other parts of the body and can usually be surgically removed without likelihood of regrowth. On the other hand, the cells in a malignant, or cancerous, tumor can sometimes spread to other areas of the body, such as the lungs, liver and bones.
What are the symptoms of stomach cancer?
Early-stage stomach cancer symptoms can be difficult to recognize due to the fact that there are several unrelated conditions that can cause similar symptoms. Some of these symptoms, for instance, include stomach pain or discomfort, indigestion or heartburn, loss of appetite, and a bloated feeling after eating a meal. As stomach cancer progresses to later stages, however, symptoms may become more severe and additionally include:
- Vomiting blood
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blood in stool
Moffitt's approach to treating stomach cancer
Here at Moffitt Cancer Center, we take a unique approach to treating stomach cancer. Our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program is made up of a multispecialty team of experts from a variety of disciplines, who take a highly collaborative and coordinated approach to cancer treatment. This team will meet in a weekly tumor board to review each case and create an individualized treatment plan.
Depending on the patient’s specific needs, we may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- Radiation therapy
- Molecular targeted therapy
Our radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, surgeons and other physicians all specialize in stomach cancer
The Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Moffitt allows our patients to benefit from the expertise of many stomach cancer specialists, including surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, rehabilitation therapists and supportive care specialists, all of whom are committed to achieving the best possible patient outcomes and quality of life. These highly focused specialists, who rank among the best in the world in their respective fields, work closely together to monitor each patient’s progress on an ongoing basis. As a result, each treatment plan is continually fine-tuned as necessary to continue to meet the patient’s physical, mental and emotional needs.
Moffitt's robust clinical trials program
In addition to comprehensive stomach cancer treatment options, Moffitt also offers some of the most recent and effective clinical trials available today. Thanks to our extensive research efforts and robust selection of clinical trials, we’ve been named a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute and can offer our patients advanced treatments that aren’t available at other Florida facilities. In fact, patients can receive these treatments, diagnostic testing and supportive care all at one convenient location.
No referral is necessary to meet with our oncologists specializing in stomach cancer. To schedule an appointment with our team of experts, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online.