Gastric (stomach) cancer occurs when cancer cells form in the lining of the stomach. Risk factors include smoking, infection with H. pylori bacteria, and certain inherited conditions. Explore the links on this page to learn more about gastric cancer prevention, screening, treatment, statistics, research, and clinical trials.

Gastric Cancer Treatment

  • Gastric cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lining of the stomach.
  • Age, diet, and stomach disease can affect the risk of developing gastric cancer.
  • Symptoms of gastric cancer include indigestion and stomach discomfort or pain.
  • Tests that examine the stomach and esophagus are used to detect (find) and diagnose gastric cancer.
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment op

Gastric cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lining of the stomach.

The stomach is a J-shaped organ in the upper abdomen. It is part of the digestive system, which processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) in foods that are eaten and helps pass waste material out of the body. Food moves from the throat to the stomach through a hollow, muscular tube called the esophagus. After leaving the stomach, partly-digested food passes into the small intestine and then into the large intestine.

The wall of the stomach is made up of 5 layers of tissue. From the innermost layer to the outermost layer, the layers of the stomach wall are: mucosa, submucosa, muscle, subserosa (connective tissue), and serosa. Gastric cancer begins in the mucosa and spreads through the outer layers as it grows.

Stromal tumors of the stomach begin in supporting connective tissue and are treated differently from gastric cancer. See the PDQ summary on Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors Treatment (Adult) for more information.

For more information about cancers of the stomach, see the following PDQ summaries:

  • Unusual Cancers of Childhood Treatment
  • Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Prevention
  • Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Screening

Symptoms of gastric cancer include indigestion and stomach discomfort or pain.

These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by gastric cancer or by other conditions.

In the early stages of gastric cancer, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Indigestion and stomach discomfort.
  • A bloated feeling after eating.
  • Mild nausea.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Heartburn.

In more advanced stages of gastric cancer, the following signs and symptoms may occur:

  • Blood in the stool.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss for no known reason.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin).
  • Ascites (build-up of fluid in the abdomen).
  • Trouble swallowing.

Check with your doctor if you have any of these problems.

Childhood Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Treatment

The stomach is a J-shaped organ in the upper abdomen. It is part of the digestive system, which processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) from foods that are eaten and helps pass waste material out of the body. Food moves from the throat to the stomach through a hollow, muscular tube called the esophagus. After leaving the stomach, partly-digested food passes into the small intestine and then into the large intestine.

Stromal tumors of the stomach begin in supporting connective tissue and are treated differently from stomach cancer. See the PDQ summary on Childhood Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors Treatment for more information.

Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Prevention

  • Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help prevent stomach cancer.
  • The following are risk factors for stomach cancer:
    • Certain medical conditions
    • Certain genetic conditions
    • Diet
    • Environmental causes
  • The following are protective factors that may decrease the risk of stomach cancer:
    • Stopping smoking
    • Treating Helicobacter pylori infection
  • It is not known if the following factors lower the risk of stomach cancer or have no effect on the risk of stomach cancer:
    • Diet
    • Dietary supplements
  • Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to prevent cancer.
  • New ways to prevent stomach cancer are being studied in clinical trials.

Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Screening

  • Tests are used to screen for different types of cancer when a person does not have symptoms.
  • There is no standard or routine screening test for stomach cancer.
  • Screening tests for stomach cancer are being studied in clinical trials.

What is Cancer?

  • Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the risk of getting cancer. This can include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding exposure to known cancer-causing substances, and taking medicines or vaccines that can prevent cancer from developing.

  • Cancer can cause many different symptoms. Most often these symptoms are not caused by cancer, but by benign tumors or other problems. If you have symptoms that last for a couple of weeks, your doctor will do a physical exam and order tests or other procedures to find out what is causing your symptoms.