There are many health conditions that can cause stomach pain and discomfort. One of them is ulcers, and another is cancer. While both diseases can be dangerous, there are differences between the two.
Stomach ulcers are a common condition that is usually caused by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. The bacterium can cause inflammation, damage to the stomach lining and lead to an ulcer. However, not all people with H. pylori will develop ulcers, and some have the bacteria but do not get sick.
The most common symptoms of a stomach ulcer are indigestion, heartburn and abdominal pain. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting and weight loss.
The most important difference between stomach ulcer and cancer is that stomach cancer usually starts in the stomach lining. It forms when your body's cells have a genetic mutation (change in the DNA).
Some people also have an increase in the number of certain cells called tumor cells, which can help to make the tumor grow faster. The cancer cells can break away from the lining and spread to other parts of the stomach or to other organs in the body, which is known as metastatic disease.
Stomach cancer has a higher survival rate than ulcers, and it usually can be treated with surgery or chemotherapy. The treatment is based on the type of stomach cancer and your other medical history. Adenocarcinomas and lymphomas are the most common types of stomach cancer.