Stomach Cancer


Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer or also known as gastric cancer, is the 8th and 10th most common cancer from 2017-2021 in men and women in Singapore, respectively.

  • It affects men more than women, and is common among older ages.
  • It has the 6th highest mortality rate among cancers for males.
  • On average, it is responsible for 300 deaths every year.

What Is Stomach Cancer?

Stomach cancer begins when cells in any part of the stomach grow and divide abnormally. These cells can grow into a tumour. Tumours can develop anywhere in the stomach, but most begin in the glandular tissue on the stomach’s inner surface. The cancer may spread along the stomach wall or may develop directly through the wall and spread into the bloodstream or lymphatic system. Once beyond the stomach, cancer can spread to other organs.


    • Discomfort or chronic pain in the stomach or abdomen.
    • Discomfort akin to indigestion (Dyspepsia).
    • A burning sensation after meals (Heartburn).
    • Bloated feeling after meals.
    • Loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss and fatigue.


The exact causes of stomach cancer are unknown, but its risk factors include:

  • Helicobacter pylori infection.
  • Smoking.
  • Diet high in salty and smoked foods and low in fruits and vegetables.
  • Family history.
  • Chronic gastritis.

Screening & Diagnosis

In many cases, stomach cancer is asymptomatic in its initial stages, causing many patients to be diagnosed at a late or advanced stage. Therefore, it is important to undergo regular health screening for early detection of stomach cancer. The success rate for treatment for Stage I stomach cancer is more than 50%. 

Learn more about screening in our page:

Stomach And Colorectal Cancer Screening


  • Stage 0 –  Cancer cells are found only in the innermost lining of the stomach.
  • Stage I – Cancer has penetrated deeper into the layers of the stomach but has not spread to lymph nodes or distant sites.
  • Stage II – Cancer has spread deeper into the muscle layer or to the outermost layer of the stomach and may involve nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage III – Cancer has penetrated through all layers of the stomach and involves more lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV – Cancer has spread to distant organs such as the liver, lungs, or bones, or to tissues near the stomach.


  • Surgery – Removal of part or all of the stomach (gastrectomy) and possibly nearby lymph nodes.
  • Chemotherapy – Use of drugs to kill cancer cells, often before or after surgery to shrink tumours or eliminate remaining cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy – High-energy rays are used to target and destroy cancer cells, often combined with chemotherapy.
  • Targeted therapy – Drugs that target specific molecules involved in cancer growth, such as HER2 in certain stomach cancers.
  • Immunotherapy – Treatments that boost the immune system’s ability to fight cancer, used for advanced or metastatic stomach cancer.
  • Palliative care – Supportive treatments to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life for advanced cancer stages.

Cost Of Treatment

Click to learn more about cost of cancer treatment in our article:

Cost Of Cancer Treatment In Singapore

MediSave and Insurance Coverage

MediSave can be claimed for gastroscopy screening at all public healthcare institutions and approved private hospitals and medical institutions, for Singaporeans aged 50 years old and above and provided it is a day surgery procedure.

Fees for gastroscopies which are deemed “medically necessary” are claimable under Integrated Shield Plans and private insurance plans (depending on coverage offered under each specific plan). Gastroscopies undergone purely for screening purposes (i.e. no signs and symptoms of relevant medical conditions) are generally not insurance claimable.

As MediSave policies may change from time to time, you should check with CPF on the latest updates. You should similarly check with your insurance provider on the coverage details for your particular insurance policies.

Know more about the importance of financial planning: and the cost of medical treatment In Singapore in our article

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Doctors You Can Consider

Our Preferred Gastroenterologist In Singapore - Dr Benjamin Yip

Dr Benjamin Yip is a Consultant Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist, and the Medical Director of Alpha Digestive & Liver Centre in Singapore. He is an expert in advanced endoscopic techniques and regularly performs procedures such as gastroscopy and colonoscopy.

Need to quickly set up a consultation with a gastroenterologist? Contact us to help set up an appointment with Dr Yip.

Our List of Oncologists

  • Dr Wong Siew Wei is a Senior Consultant, Medical Oncologist in Singapore, at Parkway Cancer Centre. His areas of expertise include upper gastrointestinal cancer.

Click for our listing of:

Learn more about the different types of Oncologists in our Guide.

We have trusted healthcare partners in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. Contact us through the button below to schedule an appointment with Dr Benjamin Yip or any of our trusted partners.


Can stomach cancer be prevented?

While not all cases can be prevented, reducing risk factors can help. This includes avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, reducing intake of salty and smoked foods, treating Helicobacter pylori infections, and undergoing regular medical check-ups if you have a family history of the disease.

What is the survival rate for stomach cancer?

The survival rate for stomach cancer varies widely depending on the stage at diagnosis. Early-stage stomach cancer has a higher survival rate, while advanced-stage cancer has a lower survival rate.

Can stomach cancer be detected in a blood test?

Yes. While the most reliable screening for stomach cancer is a gastroscopy, there is now also a blood test for stomach cancer. GASTROClear by MiRXES is the first blood test of its kind in the world designed to detect stomach cancer in individuals who may not yet be experiencing any symptoms. By analysing a small blood sample, GASTROClear can provide information about your risk of developing stomach cancer, categorising it as low, moderate or high.

Health365 brings healthcare, wellness and aesthetic medicine information to audiences in in partnership with our partners in Singapore (e.g. Asiamedic), Malaysia and Thailand. 

More About Stomach Cancer

Additional Readings

  1. Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer) | National University Cancer Institute Singapore. Available from: https://www.ncis.com.sg/Cancer-Information/About-Cancer/Pages/Stomach-Cancer-Gastric-Cancer.aspx 
  2. Stomach Cancer – Singapore | Singapore Cancer Society. Available from: https://www.singaporecancersociety.org.sg/learn-about-cancer/types-of-cancer/stomach-cancer.html
  3. Gastric Cancer | Singapore General Hospital. Available from: https://www.sgh.com.sg/patient-care/conditions-treatments/gastric-cancer
  4. Stomach Cancer | HealthHub. Available from: https://www.healthhub.sg/a-z/diseases-and-conditions/cancer_information_stomach_ncis
  5. Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer): How to Prevent, Risk Factors and Treatment | HealthXchange.sg. Available from: https://www.healthxchange.sg/cancer/stomach-cancer/stomach-cancer-prevention-management
  6. Gastrointestinal Cancer Screening | Alpha Digestive & Liver Centre. Available from https://alphagastro.sg/conditions/gastrointestinal-cancer-screening/