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Stomach Cancer

Several different types of cancer can occur in the stomach. Adenocarcinoma, the most common type, starts in one of the common cell types found in the lining of the stomach.

The prevalence of gastric adenocarcinoma in the United States has decreased over the years. Experts think the decrease may be due to people eating less salted, cured and smoked foods.

Risk Factors for Stomach Cancer

  • Risks for gastric cancer include:
  • Chronic atrophic gastritis
  • Eating large amounts of salted, smoked or pickled foods
  • Having a family history of stomach cancer
  • Having had a helicobacter pylori infection or stomach inflammation
  • History of an adenomatous gastric polyp larger than 2 centimeters
  • History of pernicious anemia
  • Smoking cigarettes

Men are at higher risk for stomach cancer than women.

Diagnosis of Stomach Cancer

Doctors use the following tests to confirm a diagnosis of gastrointestinal carcinoma:

  • Complete medical history
  • Physical exam
  • CT scan
  • Ultrasound
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • MRI
  • PET scan
  • Needle biopsy

Your doctor may also order blood tests to help determine the diagnosis, including a complete blood count (CBC), liver function and tumor markers.

Gastric Cancer Treatment

Stomach (gastric) cancer treatment includes surgery and may also include chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Gastrectomy, or surgical removal of the stomach, is the only treatment for gastric cancer that can cure the condition. Depending on the stage of the cancer, your oncologist may also recommend radiation therapy and chemotherapy.


Chemotherapy is the standard treatment for locally advanced cancers, in which the tumor has grown into nearby blood vessels and other tissues, but has not spread to the liver or distant organs.

Radiation Therapy 

We use the most advanced radiation therapy technology to help patients fight cancer with less scarring, shorter recovery times and a quicker return to productivity. 

Clinical Trials and Research 

As a teaching hospital affiliated with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, Memorial Hermann-TMC offers you and your loved ones access to innovative treatments and technologies as soon as they are made available, whether in the development and testing phases, or after FDA approval. Patients who qualify also have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials of treatments that would not otherwise be available to them. Find a study or trial.