Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is a cell growth that begins in the stomach. The stomach is located in the upper middle part of the abdomen, below the ribs. The stomach helps break down and digest food.
Stomach cancer can occur anywhere in the stomach. In most parts of the world, gastric cancer occurs in the central part of the stomach. This part is called the body of the stomach.
In the United States, stomach cancer begins at the gastroesophageal junction. This is where the long tube that carries the food you swallow meets your stomach. The tube that carries food to the stomach is called the esophagus.
Where stomach cancer starts is one factor health care providers consider when planning treatment. Other factors may include the stage of the cancer and the type of cell involved. Treatment usually involves surgery to remove the stomach tumor. Other treatments may be used before or after surgery.
Stomach cancer treatment is more likely to be successful if it is only in the stomach. The prognosis for people with small stomach cancer is quite good. Many people can expect to be cured. Most stomach cancers are diagnosed when the disease is advanced and the chances of recovery are low. Stomach cancer that has spread through the stomach wall or spread to other parts of the body is more difficult to treat.