When cells grow out of control in the stomach, the diagnosis is stomach cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, this accounts for 1.5 percent of newly diagnosed cancers each year and is more common in men.

While all stomach cancers occur within or adjacent to the stomach, they’re not all the same. The vast majority are adenocarcinomas. They develop within gland cells that reside deep in the stomach lining. Other stomach cancers include gastrointestinal stomal tumors, lymphomas and neuroendocrine tumors. In most cases, stomach cancer diagnosis occurs after it has progressed. At this point, it may cause heartburn, abdominal pain and other symptoms that mimic less dangerous conditions.

Stomach cancer at UK Markey Cancer Center

Using state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge medical and surgical interventions, the Markey’s gastrointestinal cancer team provides advanced and timely diagnosis and individualized, ongoing care for patients. Each patient is cared for by a team of specialists who meet regularly to discuss individual patient cases and stomach cancer treatment plans. This multidisciplinary team will work with you and your doctor to coordinate a care plan designed to offer the best outcomes.

Markey has provided state-of-the-art cancer care for more than 30 years, and we are proud to be the only cancer center in Kentucky designated by the National Cancer Institute. Since 2017, Markey Cancer Center has been nationally recognized as a top 50 cancer center by U.S. News & World Report.

Though stomach cancer symptoms are rare with early-stage stomach cancer, they may arise when the cancer spreads and grows. Symptoms of stomach cancer you may experience include:

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Bloody stool
  • Feeling full after eating a small amount
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Vomiting (may be bloody)
  • Weakness or tiredness (caused by anemia)
  • Yellow eyes or skin (caused if the cancer spreads to the liver)

The five-year survival rate for cancer that is contained in the stomach (localized) is about 70 percent. Once cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or nearby areas, that rate drops to 32 percent. Stomach cancer that has spread to distant sites, such as the liver, has a five-year survival rate of about 6 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

You can lower your risk of cancer by taking steps to build a healthy lifestyle. Here are some ways you can lower your risk for this disease, as well as improve your overall basic health:

  • Avoid using tobacco products. Tobacco has been tied to multiple cancers, and it is responsible for 90 percent of lung cancer deaths.
  • Stay physically active. Your physical activity is related to risk for colon and breast cancer. Excess weight gained from inactivity increases the risk of multiple cancers.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. It is important to be mindful of how much alcohol you drink. Alcohol intake, even in moderate amounts, can increase the risk for colon, breast, esophageal and oropharyngeal cancer.
  • Learn about screenings. Your primary care doctor can recommend appropriate cancer screenings based on your age, personal risk and family history.

There are many risk factors for stomach cancer. Stomach cancer causes include:

  • Age. Stomach cancer is most often diagnosed after age 60, according to the American Cancer Society.
  • Diet. Not eating many fruits or vegetables or eating lots of processed, grilled, charcoaled, salted or pickled foods increases your risk.
  • Ethnicity. People who are Black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian/Pacific Islanders are more likely to experience stomach cancer.
  • Family history. A family history of gastric (stomach) cancer raises your risk.
  • Infection. Experiencing bacterial infection in your stomach (specifically H pylori) makes you more likely to have stomach cancer.
  • Obesity. Being overweight increases your risk of this cancer, especially in the upper stomach.
  • Pernicious anemia. This prevents your intestines from absorbing vitamin B12, which reduces the red blood cells in your body and raises your stomach cancer risk.
  • Sex. Stomach cancer is more common in men than women.
  • Smoking. Your risk of stomach cancer nearly doubles if you smoke.
  • For your first visit, you will be directed to the Whitney-Hendrickson Building. Open Google Maps.
  • You can register at the front desk or registration area, where a Markey team member will help guide you through your appointment.
  • Several parking options are available to patients of Markey Cancer Center.
  • Please remember to bring your patient packet with the completed forms. These items will help your doctor learn more about your case and determine the best plan for your care.
  • To meet our patient needs, UK HealthCare accepts many forms of insurance.  

Clinical trials are research studies aimed at evaluating medical, surgical or behavioral interventions to determine if a new treatment is safe and effective. At Markey, we are advancing cancer care and research to prevent, detect and treat one patient at a time. As a patient at Markey, you have a team of people looking at your individual case, applying the most recent cancer knowledge to give you the best chance of survival.

Markey has more open clinical trials than any other cancer center in the region, giving you access to some of the most advanced options available. Learn more about ongoing clinical trials for treating stomach cancer below.

Search Our Ongoing Clinical Trials for Stomach Cancer

Markey Cancer Center is NCI-designated

The UK Markey Cancer Center was first designated by the National Cancer Institute in 2013 – a distinction that recognizes our extraordinary ability to provide world-class care for our patients. We are the only NCI-designated cancer center in Kentucky and one of only 71 in the nation.

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