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Genetic Predisposition Testing for Gastric Cancer

Gastric cancer is a cancer of the stomach. Cancer occurs when cells in a particular area of the body start reproducing abnormally and invade the surrounding body tissue. Stomach cancers tend to develop slowly over many years, and starts off from pre-cancerous changes which often occur in the cells of the lining of the stomach. These early changes rarely cause symptoms and therefore often go undetected.

About Gastric Cancer

Gastric cancer is classified into different types of cancer according to the type of cancer in which the cancerous growth starts. The majority of stomach cancers start in the glandular cells that line the inside of the stomach, the function of these cells is to secrete mucus that forms a protective layer against the acid in digestive juices. This kind of cancer is called adenocarcinoma, and accounts for more than 90% of all stomach cancers.

Symptoms of Gastric Cancer

  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark stools
  • Difficulty swallowing, particularly difficulty that increases over time
  • Excessive belching
  • General decline in health
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Premature abdominal fullness after meals
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Vague abdominal fullness
  • Vomiting blood
  • Weakness or fatigue

Causes of Gastric Cancer

The exact causes of Gastric cancer are unknown but it is now believed that Gastric cancer results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. A familial history of Gastric cancer: People with several first-degree relatives who have had stomach cancer are more likely to develop this disease. An increased risk of stomach cancer is seen with diets containing large amounts of smoked foods, salted fish and meat, and pickled vegetables. Smoking, ageing, being male and being overweight are also associated with an increased risk of developing Gastric cancer.

In addition, some inherited medical conditions may predispose to the development of Gastric cancer. Infection with Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) bacteria seems to be a major cause of stomach cancer, people who carry mutations of the inherited breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 may also have a higher rate of stomach cancer.