NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Stomach Cancer, Version 1.2016
Stomach cancer basics
The digestive system breaks down food for the body
to use. In this system, the stomach is one of four
organs that make up the GI (
Food is transferred from your mouth to your stomach
through the esophagus. In the stomach, food is broken
down into a liquid. From the stomach, food enters the
small intestine where nutrients are absorbed into the
bloodstream. The large intestine prepares unused
food to be moved out of the body.
As shown in
, the stomach is a large, bean-
shaped sac. Its wall has four main layers. The inner
layer that has contact with food is called the mucosa.
It is made of three sublayers—the epithelium, lamina
propria, and muscularis mucosae.
Epithelium makes a sticky, thick liquid called mucus
that protects the stomach. The lamina propria contains
connective tissue, tiny lymph vessels, and glands.
Lymph is a clear fluid that gives cells water and food
and contains germ-fighting blood cells. The muscularis
mucosae is a thin strip of muscle.
The second layer of the stomach wall is called the
submucosa. It consists of connective tissue and blood
and nerve cells. It also contains larger lymph vessels.
The third layer is called the muscularis propria. It is
mostly made of muscle fibers. These muscles help
move food through the stomach.
The fourth layer is the outer most part of the stomach
wall. It consists of serosa. The serosa, also called the
visceral peritoneum, is a membrane. It has a thin layer
of connective tissue, called the subserosa, which is
covered by a single row of cells that make lubricating
fluid. This fluid allows the stomach to move smoothly
against other organs.
The stomach is part of the GI
tract. It breaks food down into
a liquid for the body to use. Its
wall has four main layers—the
mucosa, submucosa, muscularis
propria, and serosa.
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