Stomach or gastric cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the stomach and can involve many surrounding organs and tissues such as the lymphatic system, the esophagus, the liver, or the lungs.
Stomach cancers usually develop slowly, making an early diagnosis difficult. Pre-cancerous cells may begin to grow around the stomach lining, but no symptoms will be detected. Stomach cancer specifically begins in the stomach itself, not in surrounding tissue or organs.
Stomach Cancer Malpractice In Maryland
Because stomach cancer is a slow growing cancer, with no immediately overt symptoms, it is especially important for your doctor to act quickly and carefully in diagnosing stomach cancer if it is suspected.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a doctor's negligence in diagnosing or treating stomach cancer in Maryland, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Stomach Cancer Statistics
- An estimated 24,590 new cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed in 2015, and an estimated 10,720 will die from stomach cancer
- Stomach cancer is more prevalent in men than women
- Stomach cancer is more common in older people than in younger people. Almost 6 in every 10 people diagnosed with stomach cancer are over 65.
- Almost 95% of all stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas, the type of cancer that develops in the inner lining of the stomach
- About 4% of stomach cancers are lymphomas, or cancer that arises in immune system tissue that can also be found in the stomach.
- The average 5-year survival rate of stomach cancer, meaning the number of patients with stomach cancer who are still alive 5 years after diagnosis, is 29.3%
Symptoms and Risk Factors
Stomach cancer symptoms are difficult to detect at early stages of the disease, and many of the symptoms are common to other diseases and conditions. Doctors should know the risk factors of stomach cancer, and should order the proper diagnostic tests if stomach cancer is a possibility.
Risk factors of stomach cancer include:
- Smoking tobacco
- Being male, and being over 50
- Inflammation and infection in the stomach caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H pylori)
- Having a diet high in meat, salted fish, smoked foods, or other sources of nitrates
- Previous stomach surgery
- Family history of stomach cancer
Stomach cancers metastasize in many different ways, and symptoms will vary based on the location of the cancer. Common symptoms of stomach cancer include:
- Indigestion, heartburn, stomach pain, or pain in abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea, vomiting, and stomach problems after eating
- Weakness ad fatigue
- Weight loss
- Blood in stool, diarrhea, or constipation
- Difficulty swallowing
- Feeling fuller quicker
Diagnosing and Misdiagnosing Stomach Cancer
If you show symptoms of stomach cancer, your doctor should follow proper diagnostic procedures to assess your condition. Diagnosing cancer should begin with a full physical exam including a complete medical history and family history.
Doctors will then need to run diagnostic tests. These may include:
- Endoscopy, (placing a tube that allows the doctor to see into the stomach)
- Biopsy, (obtaining a tissue sample)
- CT scan, MRI scan, or an ultrasound to get a picture of the stomach and any tumors
Stomach Cancer Treatment
Treatments for gastric or stomach cancer are similar to many other cancers and include surgically removing tumors, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Most stomach cancers are not diagnosed until more advanced stages when they have already metastasized, or spread. But if the cancer hasn't spread and remains localized, patients have about a 50% chance of being cured. Localized stomach cancers account for less than 15% of all stomach cancer cases.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Stomach Cancer Cases
Sometimes doctors provide the best possible care and still are not able to diagnose stomach cancer until advanced stages. There are instances, however, where negligence in the diagnostic process allows a patient's condition to seriously worsen. The consequences of a missed, failed, or delayed diagnosis of stomach cancer could be fatal.
Doctors should know the risk factors and symptoms of stomach cancer. They should begin the proper diagnostic tests as soon as stomach cancer is suspected. Doctors should also follow through with the diagnostic tests, communicate effectively with the patient, and refer to a specialist when needed. Failure to act timely and carefullywhen diagnosing stomach cancer can result in devastating consequences for the patient.
We are dedicated to helping your family cope with the consequences of a delayed or misdiagnosed stomach cancer. If you or a loved one has suffered serious harm as a result of a doctor's negligent diagnostic practices, contact us today to learn more about your legal options.