Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is a cell growth that begins in the stomach. The stomach is located in the upper midsection of the abdomen, below the ribs. The stomach helps break down and digest food.
Stomach cancer can occur anywhere in the stomach. In most of the world, stomach cancer occurs in the central part of the stomach. This part is called the body of the stomach.
In the United States, stomach cancer starts in the area of the gastroesophageal junction. This is where the long tube through which the food you swallow enters the stomach is located. The tube through which food enters the stomach is called the esophagus.
The location of the stomach cancer is one of the factors that health care professionals consider when planning treatment. Other factors may include the stage of the cancer and the type of cells. Treatment usually includes surgery to remove the tumor from the stomach. Other treatments may be used before or after surgery.
Treatment for stomach cancer is more likely to be successful if the tumor is only in the stomach. The prognosis for people with small stomach cancer is quite good. Many people can expect to be cured. In most cases, stomach cancer is diagnosed when the disease is at an advanced stage and the chances of a cure are slim. Stomach cancer that has spread through the stomach lining or to other parts of the body is more difficult to treat.