Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Prevention (PDQ®)

Patient Version

General Information About Stomach Cancer

Stomach (gastric) cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the stomach.

The stomach is a J-shaped organ in the upper abdomen. It is part of the digestive system, which processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) in foods that are eaten and helps pass waste material out of the body. Food moves from the throat to the stomach through a hollow, muscular tube called the esophagus. After leaving the stomach, partly-digested food passes into the small intestine and then into the large intestine.

Gastrointestinal (digestive) system anatomy; shows esophagus, liver, stomach, large intestine, and small intestine.
The stomach and esophagus are part of the upper digestive system.

See the following PDQ summaries for more information about stomach cancer:

In the United States, the number of new cases of stomach cancer has stayed about the same since 2005.

Since 2005, the number of new cases of stomach cancer in the United States has stayed about the same. Men are twice as likely as women to be diagnosed with stomach cancer.

Stomach cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the world.

The number of deaths from stomach cancer has decreased over many years, especially in the United States. Black men are more than twice as likely as white men to die from stomach cancer.

  • Updated: August 22, 2013