An abdominal mass related to a stomach tumor is most often found during a routine physical exam. A hard lump in the abdomen with or without pain, unexplained weight loss and an enlarged abdomen are usually considered symptoms of an abdominal tumor. In the early stages of stomach cancer, the following symptoms may occur
- Indigestion and stomach discomfort
- Feeling bloated after eating
- Mild nausea
- Loss of appetite
In more advanced stages of gastric cancer, the following signs and symptoms may occur
- Blood in the stool
- Weight loss for no known reason
- Stomach pain
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
- Ascites (buildup of fluid in the abdomen)
- Trouble swallowing
What are the possible risk factors of abdominal tumors?
An abdominal tumor or gastric cancer may occur when abnormal cells in the stomach lining start growing out of control, leading to the formation of a tumor. Cancer begins when an error (mutation) occurs in a cell's deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The cells then divide and grow unchecked. These accumulated cancer cells begin in the innermost layer of the stomach (mucus-producing cells that line the stomach). It then advances and spreads outward over time. When left untreated, cancer starts to spread to other parts of the body usually via the lymphatic system. The risk factors and causes of abdominal tumors may include
- Older age
- Male gender
- Infection with a bacterium called H pylori
- Persistent inflammation called gastritis
- Pernicious anemia
- Certain types of polyps in the stomach
- A diet that is high in smoked, pickled or salty foods
- A diet that is deficient in fruits and vegetables
- Family history of stomach cancer
- Inherited cancer syndromes
What are the different types of abdominal tumors?
The different types of abdominal tumors may include
- Adenocarcinoma: It is the most common form of stomach cancer that occurs in 95 percent of cases. In adenocarcinoma, cancer cells originate in gland cells that secrete gastric juices (stomach acid) inside the inner stomach lining (mucosa).
- Adenosquamous carcinoma: Cancer may originate in the space between the cells of heterotopic gastric glands.
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST): Tumor originating in the connective tissue of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Neuroendocrine carcinoma: Tumors that may produce hormones and sometimes disturb hormonal balance.
- Gastric lymphoma: This is cancer originating in the lymph nodes.
What are the possible treatment options for abdominal tumors?
The treatment options of abdominal tumors may include
- Surgery: Surgery is a common treatment of all stages of gastric cancer. The type of surgery required may depend on the patient’s condition, stage of the tumor and prognosis.
- Endoscopic mucosal resection: Endoscopic mucosal resection is a procedure that uses an endoscope to remove early-stage cancer and precancerous growths from the lining of the digestive tract without surgery. An endoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also include tools to remove growths from the lining of the digestive tract.
- Chemotherapy: This therapy uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or administered intravenously or intramuscularly, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is administered in the body’s cavity, such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). The way the chemotherapy is administered depends on the type and stage of the cancer.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the area of the body with cancer.
- Chemoradiation: Chemoradiation therapy combines chemotherapy and radiation therapy to treat cancer. Chemoradiation given after surgery to lower the risk of cancer recurrence is called adjuvant therapy. The effects of chemoradiation given before surgery to shrink the tumor (neoadjuvant therapy) are being studied.
- Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells. Targeted therapies usually cause less harm to normal cells than chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is a treatment that uses the patient's immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or biologic therapy.
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