Stomach cancer, also known as gastric or gastrointestinal cancer usually begins within the stomach. Gastric cancer can affect stomach, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, colon and rectal.
How is stomach cancer developed?
Gastric cancer is a gradual event that progresses over several years. Before cancer is diagnosed in its true sense, certain pre-cancerous changes occur in the inner lining of the stomach called mucosa. These pre-cancerous changes rarely manifest into signs and symptoms, thus go undetected. The cancerous cells may start developing in any part of the stomach and spread to different parts such as,
- The wall of the stomach and invade nearby organs.
- Lymph nodes and lymph vessels
These cancerous cells can travel through the bloodstream and spread to nearby organs such as lungs, liver and bones.
Top hospitals for stomach cancer in India
Some of the best cancer hospitals in India, which provide affordable treatment for stomach cancer are:
Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, New Delhi
- It was the first cancer hospital in North India and one of the best cancer hospitals in India.
- It was also the first cancer hospital to accredited from NABH in 2008.
- It maintains a record of treating approximately 2 million cancer patients each year with 30 different medical specialities.
Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi
- This NABH, NABL, and JCI accredited hospital has more than 10,000 beds across 64 hospitals and more than 2200 pharmacies.
- Offers a combination of world-class technology and skilled professionals. Technologies like Vinci Robotic Surgical System are used for complicated surgeries with greater ease and precision.
- It also offers Newer drug formulation chemo to minimize toxicity in chemotherapeutic drugs.
BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi
- BLK is the first in Delhi to provide Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) Technology in India.
- Also the first in Asia and seventh in the world to introduce Cyberknife VSI.
- Other than this there are modern technologies such as Trilogy, Tx Linear Accelerator, IGRT, IMRT, 3D CRT, and high dose rate brachytherapy.
Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon
- The hospital is a pioneer of advanced techniques such as immunotherapy, anti-angiogenesis, targeted therapy etc.
- One of the latest therapies is brachytherapy, which is widely used at the hospital under the guidance of Dr Tejinder Kataria.
- Dr Kataria was the first to introduce brachytherapy in North India.
Stomach cancer treatment cost in India
The stomach cancer treatment cost in India is highly affordable as compared to that in the developed nations such as the US. The price in India may range between 5800 to 6000 USD.
The patient may also need to undergo chemotherapy which may cost between 650 to 1200 USD per session. Other than this, investigations are also done before the treatment. These tests include physical examination, blood tests, endoscopy, MRI, CT, X-rays, ultrasound, laparoscopy and biopsy.
Most commonly noticed signs and symptoms in stomach cancer
As already mentioned, the signs of stomach cancer are not easily seen or so often. Most of them occur when cancer has reached an advanced stage. Mostly seen signs are :
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bloating after eating
- Persistent indigestion
- Stomach pain
In many later stages, the following types of signs may be seen:
- Fluid buildup in the stomach
- Black stools containing blood
- Weight loss
How is stomach cancer diagnosed?
When you consult a gastroenterologist after noticing the symptoms, he /she may recommend an upper endoscopy. This is a test in which a long tube with a camera is inserted inside the throat leading to the stomach. This is used to visualize the upper digestive tract including oesophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine. Other than this, a biopsy can also be done to confirm the diagnosis, in which a sample of cells is extracted from the stomach and sent to the laboratory for micro-examination.
What are the possible complications of the disease?
Advanced stages of stomach cancer can be categorized into two forms. If the cancer is not treated, complications such as unintentional weight loss, difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting or bleeding may occur. This cancer, if metastasized to the liver can cause complications such as jaundice, ascites, fever or malaise. Some complications may also be associated with the treatment. Gastrectomy may also make some life-long changes in the patients.
What are the various stages of cancer?
The stages of cancer are categorised in stage 0 to 4. In stage 0, cancer has now grown beyond the inner cells of the stomach lining. Stage IV represents a critical stage of cancer. The staging helps the doctor to decide the effect of cancer on the rest of the body and in deciding the treating goals of the patient.