Sunday, January 17, 2021

Stomach Cancer (Oriental Medicine View)


General Information

The cancer that commonly occurs to the women in their thirties, Stomach cancer, is one of the most common cancers for the women past 30. Usually, people start to be concerned about other types of cancers after their forties, but stomach cancer is different in that it is most frequently caused by the problems of dietary habits.

Because cancer occurs to the weak or aging body, women should be especially careful as they age; calcium and hormones in the body are getting depleted, immune system starts to be weakening.

The people in the countries like Japan, Chile, Finland and Ireland that show rather high-rate of stomach cancer like to eat salty or spicy food and water full of nitrate. But, the rate of stomach cancer in Japan has been sharply declining since 1950s, which stress the importance of proper dietary habits.

– 90% can be cured in its early stage

Like other types of cancers, one of the main causes of stomach cancer lies in genetic factors. That is to say, if one or both parents have a history of the cancer, the offsprings show over 2 or 3 times of possibility of getting it than those whose parents don’t have the history.

When the cancer is detected in the first stage, 90% can be cured; 70% in the second stage, 45% in the third stage, less than 10% in the fourth(last) stage. Once the cancer develops, other than direct operation, it’s hard to cure it with anticancer drugs or radiation treatment. Therefore, for all cancers, early detection is the most important thing.

It is reported that it takes about 2 years that we can see it after developing; more than one time a year, it is recommended to have endoscopy or radiation check-up.

The causes

– Salty or spicy dietary habits

The direct causes of stomach cancer have not been reported yet, but it is assumed that the most presumable factor is salty or spicy food; salted or smoked food, nitrogenous compound in burned meat or fish. The problem is not directly in salt or pepper itself; it is in chronic irritating of synthetic flavoring matters. For example, Mexicans like to eat pretty spicy food, but they show relatively a little possibility of getting cancer.

– Frequent pregnancy

During the procedures of conception and delivery, hormones in the women undergo drastic changes. A study reports that, in that cancer cell starts to be made when there develops immune deficiency, stomach cancer can easily occur during pregnancy. Sometimes, the cancer cell that was lurking during the period turns abruptly rampant right after delivery.

– Genetic factors

It is allegedly said that about 10% of people in stomach cancer has been affected by genetic problem. For people whose one or both parents have a history or those whose blood type is A, it is highly recommended to have regular general check-ups.

– Other stomach-related diseases

It is fairly probable that the diseases in stomach develop to cancer. The diseases are adenomatous polyposis, intestinalization, chronic atrophic gastritis, pernicious anemia, etc.

– Job-related factors

People who have more chances to be exposed to things like radiation, asbestos, metallic dusts show far more possibility of getting it than who have not.

– Drinking & Smoking

Drinking and smoking are also deeply related to stomach cancer. For the women in thirties, the starting age of smoking is more closely related to stomach cancer than its daily amount.


About 20% of stomach cancer patients don’t feel any special symptoms in its early phase, so it’s somewhat hard to detect in that period.

– Medicine can ease it temporarily.

The symptoms of stomach cancer are similar to those of peptic ulcer. This is the reason that people don’t think them serious usually, thereby leaving it unattended.

The general symptoms of stomach cancer are anorexia, distention, pain, weight loss, dyspepsia, anemia, bloody stool that are commonly found in other diseases. There aren’t any specific symptoms that can be presumed as stomach cancer up to now. Early detection and cure is the only way to conquer the disease.

– Pain in pit of the stomach

When it develops a little bit further, there occur pain and sore around the pit of the stomach and upper abdominal area accompanied by weight loss and anorexia. These are getting worse as it develops.
Feeling pain when swallowing something means disorder in the entrance of stomach; vomiting means that in the way out area.

The color of blood seen on the severely inflamed area in the stomach is deep brown. When it turns to chronic and advanced stage, ascites is getting filled, and legs and body get swollen; sometimes, lump can be found on the clavicular part.

– After delivery

Cancer agents lurking inside the body can be activated during pregnancy and delivery. Although cancer develops during the period, it’s hard to detect it because maldigestion in-between is taken for granted. More than that, with fear or doubt of hurting their baby, pregnant women often hesitate to get any types of tests; but those like endoscope are safe.


No other ways are better than early detection and treatment in stomach cancer. If the size is less than 2cm, it can perfectly be cured only with endoscope treatment. Although there are many different choices, the eradication of cancer cell by operation is the only way to conquer it.

– The phases of stomach cancer

There are four phases in the development of stomach cancer. Among them, from the first through third phases can be cured by operation; the rates of 5-year survival after operation are 95%, 75% and 40%. However, its final(fourth) stage shows only 5% of survival possibility; this is the case that the cancer cells spread into other internal organs. Mass around the naval and ascites can be regarded as an ‘ultimatum’.

On the first phase, the cancer cells are located not directly on the stomach walls, so they can perfectly be removed.

– Excision

The only basic and fundamental treatment for stomach cancer is to remove cancer cells. The size excision is varied with the place of the cell.

– Anticancer medicine & radiation treatment

When the cancer cells spread to other internal organs, general operations can’t remove them. In this case, anticancer medicine and radiation treatment are applied. Both treatments can also be used as a supplementary of deterring any new cancer cells after operation.

Anticancer medicines are effective when 2 or 3 kinds of them are applied at a time. For people who are excessively weak or having internal problems, this kind of treatment may be dangerous.

– Gastrojejunoesophagostomy

When the operation is not available, top priority is to alleviate the pain. In case it’s hard to intake food, a device which is called ‘stent’ is inserted; sometimes, when the cancer develops further, it may not be useful.


– Massage

Most of the patients undergoing stomach-related diseases can feel some lumps around the left side of navel. Softly massage the area and its right back side.

– Vegetables & Overeating

The foods that are good for stomach are green or yellow vegetables like cabbage, fruits, tofu, bean, dairy products like milk and yoghurt, seaweeds, garlic, ginseng that are full of vitamin A, C, E. These are just for prevention’s purpose, not for those of treatment or curing.
Do not overeat, and lessen the fat intake. Salty, spicy, hot, smoked or burnt foods are required to be avoided.

– Stress

Stress accumulated by excessive physical labor or mental activity is also one of the crucial factors of stomach cancer. Other than stress, there is even no need to say that smoking and drinking should be avoided.


Question: Is chronic gastritis a foreboding symptom of stomach cancer?

Answer: Even in healthy people, gastritis is easily found by endoscope. Therefore, it doesn’t need to take it hard. Agents of inflammation and cancer are totally different. However, if it gets chronic, go and get some check-ups.

Question: It is allegedly said that people who have undergone duodenal ulcer aren’t taken ill by stomach cancer. Is it true?

Answer: Yes, it’s true. There is no specified information on this so far, similar cases can easily be found nowadays. Although several studies found that the two organs show some reverse operational characteristics, it hasn’t been fully or specifically proved yet.

Question: How can we find that we’re getting ill with stomach cancer?

Answer: Basically, it can be detected by X-ray test. Other than endoscopy, some state-of-the-art medical techniques like double contrast radiography, spot compression view can help locate and identify the cancer cells.

The diagnosis rate of stomach cancer by these applications is up to 90%.

Question: It is usually said that stomach cancer is a genetic disease. Why is that?

Answer: There is a famous anecdote about the Napoleon family; 6 of them died of stomach cancer. So, for a few centuries, it’s been believed that acquired factors like food and living conditions could dominate the initiation and development of the disease. However, just some years ago, genes of stomach cancer were identified. The cancer gene is made by mutation of genes that make protein. If that kind of genes exist in the body, the outbreak possibility of cancer could reach up to 80%; if one or both parents have it, the possibility is up to 50%. The average range that can be threatened is the people between their 30s and 40s.

Factors that can cause cancer

– Cancer cell, the Die-hard

Cancer was called ‘KariKinos’ in ancient Greek, ‘Cancrum’ in Latin both of which mean ‘Crab’. This is originated from the hard feeling when touching crabs. The most horrible thing about cancer is that it can appear anywhere on the body other than hair and nails; without excision, it is pretty hard to completely remove it.

There are about 270 kinds of cancers that have been reported. Every 6 billion cells in the human body has its own life-cycle; however, cancer cells never die, but only proliferate exponentially. Among the 0.1 million genes in the body, there coexist carcinogenic genes and anti-carcinogenic ones. Ordinarily, the latter control the former; but when the former gets activated harder than the latter, mutation occur, and then cancer cell gets made.

– The reasons

It is reported that among all the factors that cause cancer, about 5 to 10% of them is from genetic problem; in fact, other than genetic factor, chromosome aberration is additionally required. Therefore, environmental factors are more crucial to cancer than genetic ones.

There are many bad things that can cause cancer: chain-smoking, excessive alcohol intake, environmental pollution, overexposure to radiation and ultraviolet rays, virus infection, bad dietary habits, nutrition status and drugs.

Among these, there are many things that have direct relation with the cancers: smoking(pollution)/lung cancer, hepatitis/liver cancer, ultraviolet rays/skin cancer. However, in many cases, cancer occurs from the mixture among the factors.

Who is in danger?

– Unbalanced diet

Foods contain both carcinogenic and anti-carcinogenic material. Therefore, unbalanced food intake may cause cancer. However, the dietary pattern shouldn’t wholly be tilted to anti-carcinogenic foods. Unbalanced dietary habits can expose vulnerability to many diseases.

– Salty & hot foods

Stomach cancer is also caused by excessive salty and hot food intake.

– Smoking when drinking, and vice versa

Smoking and drinking are no doubt the paramountly lethal factors to the health. Doing two things at once can cause laryngeal cancer. If there is any scars in the mouth, the possibility soars. Indirect smoking can also result in fatal outcome.

Managing sexually deranged life

High-risk behaviors like having sexual affairs with a certain number of unspecified people can get one’s spouse, let alone oneself, imperiled with various diseases from infection.

– Gene-linked disease

If there has been many in the family who had a history of cancer, it is probable that other family members have somewhat weak immune system. In this case, it is recommended to change some part of life pattern and be careful not to be exposed to any cancer-causing factors.

Wang Wei
Wang Wei is a holistic health practitioner in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

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