Stomach Cancer Survival Rates by Age

Medically Reviewed on 7/25/2022
Stomach Cancer Survival Rates by Age
The overall 5-year survival rate for stomach cancer is 24%

Stomach cancer survival rates generally decrease with advancing age. Most cases of stomach cancer in the U.S. occur between the ages of 65-74, with a median age of 70 for males and 74 for females. 

General 5-year survival rates for stomach cancer are as follows:

  • Overall: 24%
  • Localized: 69%
  • Regional metastasis: 31%
  • Distant metastasis: 5%
Table. Stomach cancer survival rates by age
Age (years) Survival rates in men (percent) Survival rates in women (percent)
15 to 39 35 33
40 to 49 29 31
50 to 59 24 26
60 to 69 23 25
70 to 79 19 22
80 to 99 8 9

What is stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer occurs when there is an abnormal growth of cells that starts in the stomach due to a mutation that occurs in the DNA of the cells that cause them to divide and grow uncontrollably. 

Most stomach cancers begin in the innermost layer (mucus-producing cells that line the stomach). If left untreated, cancer can spread to other regions of the body.

What are different types of stomach cancer?

There are four types of stomach cancer based on the types of cells from which they arise.

  • Adenocarcinoma
    • Most common type, accounting for more than 90% of all stomach cancers.
    • Occurs in the innermost lining of the stomach (mucosa).
  • Lymphoma
    • Accounts for 4% of all stomach cancers, classified as primary and secondary lymphoma of the stomach.
    • Primary lymphoma begins in the stomach and spreads to the lymph nodes, bone marrow, and other regions of the body.
    • Secondary lymphoma originates in other regions of the body and then spreads to the stomach.
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs)
    • GISTs belong to the sarcoma family and account for only about 1% of stomach cancers. 
    • Begin in the interstitial cells of Cajal (connective tissue of the stomach).
    • Not all GISTs are malignant but even benign ones can turn malignant.
    • GISTs can be located everywhere in the digestive system, but the majority are found in the stomach.
  • Neuroendocrine cancer or carcinoid tumors
    • Accounts for 3% of all stomach cancers.
    • Originates from cells in the endocrine and nervous cells (hormone-producing cells) of the intestine and usually does not spread to other regions.

Squamous cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma, and leiomyosarcoma are other rare types of stomach cancers.


Skin Cancer Symptoms, Types, Images See Slideshow

What are the signs and symptoms of gastric cancer?

Unfortunately, because stomach cancer often grows without causing symptoms, it is rarely discovered in the early stages. When symptoms do appear, they often go unnoticed. Symptoms may include:

If any of these symptoms or a combination of symptoms occur without relief for a prolonged period, medical intervention is essential.

What are risk factors for stomach cancer?

Studies suggest that certain risk factors are linked to the development of stomach cancer. People older than 55 years are more prone to getting stomach cancer. Men are afflicted two times as often as women, and African Americans are more frequently impacted than Caucasians.

  • Male gender
  • Older age (50 years or older)
  • Ethnicity (more common among Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Native, Americans, and people of Asian ethnicity)
  • Family history of stomach cancer or bowel polyps
  • Genetic diseases
  • Inflammation of the stomach, such as gastritis or a stomach ulcer
  • H. pylori infection
  • Epstein-Barr virus infection
  • Working in coal, metal, timber, or rubber industries
  • Asbestos exposure
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Compromised immune system (due to conditions such as acquired immune deficiency syndrome)
  • History of stomach surgery
  • Type A blood
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Obesity
  • Consuming certain types of preserved, smoked, or pickled foods
  • Diet low in whole foods, particularly fruits and vegetables

Regardless of the etiology of stomach cancer, early detection and treatment may result in a better outcome.

How is stomach cancer diagnosed?

Diagnostic tests are used to confirm the presence of cancer and determine the stage, which can help determine treatment. The following are often used to diagnose stomach cancer:

What are the stages of stomach cancer?

Staging is determined by how much cancer is present in the body, where it was discovered, whether it has spread, and where it has spread to. 

The stage of the cancer helps determine whether the cancer will respond to therapy and how likely it is to return (recur). 

  • Stage I
    • Stage IA
      • Cancer may have migrated to the submucosa of the stomach wall ( layer of tissue adjacent to the mucosa).
    • Stage IB
      • Cancer may have spread to the submucosa and 1-2 lymph nodes are identified surrounding the tumor, or it may have migrated to the stomach wall's muscular layer.
  • Stage II
    • Tumor has progressed to 7-15 lymph nodes or other organs from the inner lining of the stomach.
    • Tumor has migrated to the stomach wall's outer muscle layer and 1-6 lymph nodes.
    • Tumor has migrated through the stomach wall but not to any lymph nodes or other organs.
  • Stage III
    • Stage IIIA
      • Tumor has migrated to the stomach's outer muscular layer and 7-15 lymph nodes, but not to other organs.
      • Tumor has migrated through the stomach wall and 1-6 lymph nodes but not to other organs.
      • Tumor has migrated to neighboring organs but not to lymph nodes or distant organs.
    • Stage IIIB
      • The tumor has spread to 7-15 lymph nodes after growing through the stomach wall.
  • Stage IV
    • Cancer has spread to other organs, such as the liver, peritoneum, lungs, and brain.

7 treatment options for stomach cancer

Treatment strategy varies depending on factors such as the stage of cancer, your general health, and the potential adverse effects of cancer medications.

1. Surgery

  • Endoscopic mucosal resection: Mostly used for early-stage stomach cancer that has not progressed to other areas of the body.
  • Subtotal or partial gastrectomy: Cancerous tumors in the stomach are surgically removed, along with any nearby lymph nodes and organs.
  • Total gastrectomy: Along with the lymph nodes and other adjacent organs, the whole stomach is removed.

2. Chemotherapy

  • Drugs are used in chemotherapy to kill or slow cancer cell growth.
  • To enhance the effectiveness of the treatment, chemotherapy may be combined with radiation or surgery.

3. Radiation

  • High-energy X-rays or protons are used to destroy cancer cells.
  • It can be used with chemotherapeutic drugs to boost the effectiveness of the radiation.

4. Targeted therapy

  • Medications that specifically target and destroy the cancer cells are administered.

5. Immunotherapy 

Drugs are given to strengthen the immune system, giving it the ability to target and eliminate stomach cancer cells.

6. Clinical trials

  • Clinical trials allow patients to receive novel drugs being researched to treat stomach cancer.

7. Supportive care

  • With the assistance of counselors, nurses, nutritionists, and social service experts, most oncology teams provide supportive care to improve the patent's quality of life.

Can you prevent stomach cancer?

Because many factors may contribute to stomach cancer, there is no single way to prevent it. Prevention measures may include:

  • Eating at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day
  • Including whole grains and legumes in your diet 
  • Avoiding consumption of salted, pickled, and smoked foods
  • Limiting consumption of red meat
  • Avoiding smoking and alcohol
  • Seeking prompt medical consultation if you notice symptoms

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Cancer Report Newsletter

By clicking "Submit," I agree to the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. I also agree to receive emails from MedicineNet and I understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 7/25/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Stomach cancer in young people – a diagnostic and therapeutic problem.

What Is Stomach Cancer?

Gastric Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version.

Stomach Cancer.

Stomach Cancer.