Stomach Cancer | Miami Cancer Institute | Baptist Health South Florida
Skip Ribbon Commands Skip to main content
Three generation family supporting benign blood disorder patient at Miami Cancer Institute

 Stomach Cancer

Because stomach cancer treatment often involves more than one type of therapy, your customized care plan is developed by a team of specialists that includes oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons and palliative care specialists.

Most stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas, which develop in the cells of the mucosal layer – the inner layer of the organ.

Stomach Cancer Risk Factors

Experts believe the following factors can increase your risk of developing stomach cancer:

  • Male gender
  • Over age 55
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol and tobacco use
  • Helicobacter pylori infection (common cause of ulcers)
  • Asbestos exposure
  • Family history of stomach cancer, hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC),
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome
  • Medical conditions such as acid reflux, Epstein-Barr virus, Menetrier disease, pernicious anemia, Type A blood

Symptoms of Stomach Cancer

There may be no symptoms of stomach cancer in the early stages. When symptoms are present, they may be mistaken for indigestion or heartburn. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating or feeling of fullness
  • Bloody or black stools
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn or indigestion symptoms
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting

A timely and accurate diagnosis increases your chances of successful treatment. The first step in diagnosing stomach cancer is a physical examination performed by your doctor and a review of your health history, lifestyle habits and family medical history. If your doctor suspects stomach cancer, the following diagnostic tests may be ordered.

  • Imaging tests, such as X-rays and CT, MRI and PET scans.  
  • Laboratory tests, including blood tests that measure complete blood count and tumor markers; and stool tests that look for traces of blood.
  • Biopsy, to examine a small tissue sample.
  • Endoscopic tests, to view areas in the stomach.
  • Barium swallow, also called an upper GI series.

Miami Cancer Institute’s multidisciplinary team approach to treating stomach cancer combined with advanced knowledge, skill and technology means you receive the best possible care. Your healthcare team may recommend one or more of the following therapies to treat your cancer or help ease side effects:

  • Surgery, including endoscopic mucosal resection, partial gastrectomy and total gastrectomy.
  • Radiation therapy, using high-energy external radiation beams that penetrate the tissues deep into the affected areas.
  • Chemotherapy​, to destroy cancer cells and control their growth.
  • Immunotherapy, which alerts the body’s immune system to fight the disease.
  • Targeted therapy, which uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific types of cancer cells, blocking their growth and spread.
  • Medication, to relieve and reduce pain.
  • Clinical trials that offer the opportunity to try new therapies. 

Your comprehensive care plan also will include psychosocial counseling, pain management treatments, integrative medicine therapies, nutrition and exercise counseling and rehabilitation provided by cancer care experts in our Cancer Patient Support Center.