What is stomach cancer?
Stomach cancer is a malignant tumour that starts in the cells of the stomach. Stomach, or gastric cancer, can develop in the stomach, esophagus, at the junction of the two organs or in the small intestine. These organs form the parts of the digestive system which change food into energy and help pass waste out of the body .
Stomach cancer is estimated to be fourth most common cancer worldwide and the second leading cause of cancer deaths . Rates of stomach cancer vary widely throughout the world, but still remain a global health issue. In Canada, diagnoses of stomach cancer are much lower than in other parts of the world like China, Eastern Asia, Eastern Europe and some parts of South America .
Incidence rates of stomach cancer in Canada continue to decline in both males (2.2 per cent per year) and females (1.3 per cent per year) –Canadian rates of stomach cancer are about half of where they were in 1985. This could be attributed to improvements in diet and the recognition and treatment of the infection of bacterium Helicobacter pylori*, an important risk factor in stomach cancer .
It is estimated in 2014 that there will be a total of 3,300 new cases diagnosed in Canada, of those 2,200 will be men and 1,200 will be women . The 5-year relative survival for stomach cancer is 25 per cent. This means that, on average, people diagnosed with stomach cancer are 25 per cent as likely to live 5 years (or more) after diagnosis as people in the general population who do not have cancer.