Stomach cancer appears in neoplasias originating from any part of the stomach and it is responsible for about 800,000 deaths a year. It is the fourth most frequent form of cancer in the world and the second most common cause of death due to cancer.
Stomach cancer is often asymptomatic or presents general symptomatology, particularly at early stages, which results in its being diagnosed after it has already metastasised; its prognosis is poor with five year survival rates of 5-15%.
Usual symptoms at its early stages are indigestion and lack of appetite, while at intermediary stages the symptoms include debility, emaciation and a sense of bloating in the stomach, particularly after meals. In the last stages of the disease, symptoms include nausea, dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), diarrhoea or constipation, abdominal pain, particularly in the upper epigastric region, haematemesis (vomiting blood) and black stools.
Stomach cancer has been attributed to various factors, such as the presence of Helicobacter pylori, various nutritious factors, such as smoked food, dry salted foods and meat, nitrates, Ménétrier’s disease, self-immune atrophic gastritis, genetic factors, etc.
Suspicions for stomach cancer are usually aroused on the basis of a patient’s history, their blood tests, and gastroscopy, as well as imaging examinations, such as the barium meal test and axial tomography.
Stomach cancer treatment includes surgical resection of the tumour, systemic chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, mainly for palliative care purposes.
There are metastatic rates of80-90% among patients, resulting in fewer than 15% of patients achieving six-month survival at advanced stages of the disease, and almost 65% of patients at early stages of the disease. Usual metastatic locations of stomach cancer are the liver, the lymph nodes and the peritoneal cavity.
An eminent position in the palliative and therapeutic management of liver metastases of stomach cancer is held by transarterial chemoembolisation and transcutaneous ablation, respectively. The most appropriate method is selected on the basis of medical indications and the overall status of the patient.
Dr Ioannis Dedes has been performing transarterial chemoembolisations at the Interbalkan Medical Centre for 10 years,with great safety and results comparable to those of specialised medical centres abroad.
Furthermore, Dr Dedes performs transcutaneous ablation to treat liver metastases originating from stomach cancer in order to limit the spread of the disease. These two state-of-the-art methods provide an alternative to the problem of effectively managing the disease, increasing life expectancy and maintaining high quality of life for patients.