Stomach Cancer


Stomach cancer is cancer that occurs in the muscular sac located in the upper middle of your abdomen, just below your ribs. Your stomach receives and holds the food you eat and then helps to break down and digest it. Other terms for stomach cancer include gastric cancer, gastric carcinoma, and stomach carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of stomach cancer.

General information

Stomach cancer is uncommon in the United States and the number of people diagnosed with the disease each year is declining. It is much more common in other areas of the world, particularly China and Japan. Globally, stomach cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer and the third leading cause of death from cancer, making up 7% of cases and 9% of deaths.

Stomach cancer mostly affects older people; two-thirds of people who develop it are over age 65. Your risk also is higher if you:

  • Have had a Helicobacter pylori infection,
  • Have had stomach inflammation,
  • Are a man,
  • Eat lots of salted, smoked, or pickled foods,
  • Smoke cigarettes, or
  • Have a family history of stomach cancer.

It is hard to diagnose stomach cancer in its early stages. Early symptoms may include heartburn, upper abdominal pain, nausea, and loss of appetite. Later symptoms may include weight loss, yellow skin, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and blood in the stool. The cancer may spread from your stomach to other parts of the body, particularly the liver, lungs, bones, lining of the abdomen, and lymph nodes. A diagnosis of stomach cancer is made through physical exams, blood and imaging tests, endoscopy, and biopsy. Because it is often found late, stomach cancer can be difficult to treat. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of treatments.

Social Security Administration DI 23022.335 — Stomach Cancer

Stomach Cancer is listed under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Compassionate Allowance Program, which was launched in 2008 to expedite certain disability claims. Applying for disability benefits under the Compassionate Allowance Program requires the same procedure every applicant must follow when applying for SSA disability benefits; however, you will be notified if your condition is being considered as a compassionate allowance.

Stomach cancer that is inoperable, unresectable, recurrent, or with metastases meets Social Security Medical Listing 13.16 B. Documentation of the diagnosis must be by generally accepted methods consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice. The evidence should include documentation of a clinically appropriate medical history, and findings consistent with the diagnosis.

Your representative may be able to assist in expediting your claim if you have been diagnosed with stomach cancer.