What Is Stomach Cancer?

The stomach is a sack-like organ that holds food and begins the digestive process by secreting gastric juices. The food and gastric juice are mixed and then emptied into the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum.

The stomach is divided into five sections. The upper portion (closest to the esophagus) is the proximal stomach. Some cells of this area of the stomachproduce acid and pepsin ( a digestive enzyme), the ingredients of the gastric juice that helps digest food. The lower portion is the distal stomach. This area includes the antrum, where the food is mixed with gastric juices, and the pylorus, which acts as a valve to control emptying of the stomach contents into the small intestine. Other organs next to the stomach include the colon, liver, spleen, small intestine, and pancreas.

The stomach has five layers. The innermost layer is called mucosa, in mucosa stomach acid and the digestive enzymes are made. Next layer is called submucosa. Submucosa is surrounded by muscularis, a layer of muscle that moves and mixes the stomach contents.

The next two layers, the submucosa and outermost serosa act as wrapping layers for the stomach. Most stomach cancers start in the mucosa. Stomach cancers develop slowly over many years.Stomach cancers can spread or metastasize, in different ways. They can grow through the walls of the stomach and eventually grow into the nearby organs. They can also spread to the lymph nodes. Of cancer spreads to the lymph nodes the chances of cure also becomes less. In later stages the stomach cancer will travel through the blood stream and form metastasis in organs such as liver, lungs, and bones. Even if it has spread to other organs it is still called stomach cancer.

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