From OHC

December 18, 2023

Gastric cancer, or stomach cancer, is a type of cancer that forms in the stomach lining.  According to the American Association for Cancer Research, an estimated 26,500 new cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed in the US and an estimated 11,130 people will die from the disease this year alone.  OHC medical oncologist, hematologist, and principal investigator for gastrointestinal and genitourinary clinical trials, Mark E. Johns, MD shares more about stomach cancer, the risk factors associated with this disease, and promising treatments.

“The most common stomach cancer develops in the glands of the stomach, typically in the interior lining of the stomach, then it spreads outward.  Only 5% of stomach cancers are lymphomas, meaning it forms in the immune system.  Rarely, some tumors are carcinoid, which is a slow-growing type of cancer.  Men are more commonly diagnosed than women, while it impacts minority communities most frequently.  Risk factors include smoking, being over the age of 55, and having a diet high in salty and smoked foods while low in fruits and vegetables. It’s a rare form of cancer, so unfortunately, there are currently no screening options.  Early symptoms to be aware of include:

  • regular indigestion
  • bloating
  • nausea
  • loss of appetite with no other possible source

More advanced signs include blood in the stool, vomiting, weight loss, stomach pain, jaundice, and trouble swallowing.

Continued research and clinical trials have resulted in promising advancements including KEYTRUDA.  A checkpoint inhibitor, currently being evaluated for stomach cancer, KEYTRUDA has had great success with triple negative breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and many other aggressive solid tumors.

Zolbetuximab is a new drug only months away from FDA approval.  Zolbetuximab is a targeted monoclonal antibody that would be the first therapy targeting the biomarker Claudin 18.2, a gene expression linked to gastric cancer.

We believe these promising advanced targeted therapies may provide a more positive outlook for patients with stomach cancer.”

If you experience these or any unusual symptoms, it is important to see your healthcare provider.  If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with stomach cancer, or to request a second opinion, please call OHC at 888-649-4800 or visit

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