The stomach is a large organ located in your upper abdomen. It plays a critical role in helping to digest food and absorb nutrients.
Usually stomach (gastric) cancer starts in the lining of the stomach, growing slowly over the course of several years and causing few if any symptoms.
The gastric cancer experts at Memorial Sloan Kettering offer comprehensive care for people with all types of stomach cancer, and see more people with this illness than any other cancer center in the United States. Thanks to improvements in the accuracy of staging the illness and advances in surgical techniques, significant progress has been made in the diagnosis and treatment of this illness. And through our clinical trials, you may have access to treatments before they’re available elsewhere.
Most people (up to 95 percent) develop a stomach cancer called adenocarcinoma, which starts in the tissues that make up the stomach lining.
There are three types of adenocarcinoma:
This type of stomach cancer may be related to long periods of inflammation and irritation in the lower part of the stomach. It’s often associated with chronic infection of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori and is more common in developing countries than in other parts of the world.
This type of stomach cancer starts in the first (proximal) part of the stomach and may extend into the gastroesophageal junction (where the esophagus joins the stomach). This cancer is more common in the United States than in other parts of the world, and tends to start in people who are obese or have gastro-esophageal reflux disease.
This aggressive cancer grows rapidly in the cells of the stomach wall. It doesn’t form a mass or a tumor, so it can be challenging to diagnose. It tends to start in younger people with a family history of the disease or a related genetic syndrome.
Less common types of gastric cancer include gastrointestinal stromal tumors, which start in stomach muscle or connective tissue; carcinoid tumors, which start in the stomach’s hormone-producing cells, and lymphoma, which starts in the stomach’s immune cells.