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While it's not the most common type of cancer, stomach cancer is an increasing concern occurring mostly in older individuals and is not typically routinely screened for. According to the American Cancer Society about 1 in 95 men and 1 in 154 women will face a stomach cancer diagnosis. 60% of the diagnosed are over 68 years of age, yet there is no routine testing recommended at any age bracket. The survival rates for this type of cancer vary greatly based on age, stage of cancer, and many other risk factors.
The American Cancer Society released survival statistics for stomach cancer patients from 2008-2014 that display how the rates can vary and why over a 5 year period. These results were constructed by the SEER database; Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results. Rather than the typical "stages" of cancer, SEER studies cancer survival rates by three types.
Localized stomach cancer is defined as cancer that does not appear to have spread or affected other parts of the body. According to the American Cancer Society, this type carried a 68% survival rate for those diagnosed.
Regional Stomach cancer has spread slightly from the stomach to the lymph nodes or other nearby areas. This cancer carries a 31% survival rate due to the more severe nature that accompanies spreading disease.
The more severe categorization of stomach cancer is Distant, having spread to further major organs in the body such as liver or lung. In this study, Distant Stomach Cancer carries a 5% survival rate over a 5 year period.
It's important to note that these survival rates are a study done on one group time frame, and there are many other factors to consider. Overall health, stage at diagnosis, risks for stomach cancer, age, treatment plan and more can all play determinate roles in the outcome of stomach cancer.
While early diagnosis isn't considered standard treatment, it can be helpful to ask for screenings if you fall under the risk categories. The common risk factors include males living in Japan, China, Parts of Europe and Southern/Central America. Stomach Lymphoma and Tobacco use can also be contributing factors.
The higher than average presence of a stomach bacteria called helicobacter pylori and related inflammation has been noticed in a large number of diagnosed cases, but the connection is still unclear. Genetics, polyps, and Epstein-Barr disease can also precipitate the risks for stomach cancer. Some combination of the above risks is typically enough reason to be screened regularly as you age to ensure a better chance of early diagnosis and treatment.
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