An especially nasty form of stomach cancer, linitis plastica is characterized by the inflammation of the stomach lining. If caught in earlier stages, the survival rate is quite high, but the chances of this are slim-- by the time it is severe enough to be diagnosed, it is usually too late.
Linitis plastica is a very aggressive cancer. Since it starts from the outside of the stomach and works its way in, it can spread to other organs before it can be easily diagnosed. It has been known to spread to the duodenum, small intestine, diaphragm, and other surrounding areas.
As if this wasn't bad enough, stomach cancer is rarely responsive to chemotherapy or radiation. Usually, the only effective treatment for linitis plastica is gastrectomy-- the removal of the entire stomach.
To make matters worse, linitis plastica is rarely visible on an endoscopy. When it is, it appears as small nodules on the lining of the stomach. Generally ultrasound imaging or a CAT scan is needed for an accurate diagnosis. If you have constant stomach pain and other symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, unexplained weight loss, or vomiting, please get a biopsy!.