Stomach cancer can be serious and is a common cause of death worldwide. Fortunately, rates of stomach cancer in the United States are falling.

Risk Factors

A risk factor increases your chances of developing a disease. The risk factors for stomach cancer include:

  • Presence of H. Pylori: These stomach-dwelling bacteria can be with antibiotics. While not everyone who develops stomach cancer has H. Pylori bacteria, those who do may be at increased risk.
  • Gender:  Men are more likely than women to develop stomach cancer.
  • Pernicious anemia: A severe lack of red blood cells can lead to stomach cancer.
  • Absence of acid production: Lack of sufficient acid in the stomach can contribute to the development of stomach cancer.
  • Gastric polyps: Certain types of gastric polyps are more likely to develop into cancer.
  • Certain inherited diseases: Diseases such as hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HPNCC) may be associated with stomach cancer.
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption


  • Abdominal pain
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling full after small meals

These symptoms are similar to those of acid reflux. If you experience any of these, consult with your primary care doctor.


MedStar Health’s team of gastroenterologists and surgical oncologists take great care to make accurate diagnosis for each patient and carefully evaluate any symptoms with the following diagnostic tools and procedures:

  • Medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Biopsy
  • Endoscopy
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • CT Scan
  • Laparoscopy


Your MedStar Health team, which includes a medical oncologist, radiation therapist, and surgical oncologist, will carefully evaluate your condition and determine the most effective form of treatment for you.

  • Surgery: After diagnosing your stomach cancer, and determining that it has not spread to other organs, your surgical oncologist will likely recommend that you have surgery. The extent of the surgery will depend on where your tumor is located and whether it has spread to the surrounding lymph nodes. Surgery generally involves removing part or all of the stomach as well as affected lymph nodes.
  • Chemotherapy: Major studies suggest that chemotherapy either with or without radiation may add to the benefits of surgery. Chemotherapy, which is cancer medication that you receive through your veins, can attack tumor cells in the body that surgery and imaging cannot detect.
  • Post-surgical Care: Your team will monitor your progress every three months for the first two years following stomach cancer surgery. We will repeat your endoscopy and CT scan to make sure the cancer is not coming back. We also encourage patients to meet with our:
    • Nutritionist, who will help you understand any necessary changes in your diet following your treatment.
    • Social worker, who will help you manage any other needs and concerns before, during, and after your treatment.

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