Linitis plastica is an extremely rare type of malignant skin cancer where the lining of the stomach becomes thick like leather. Because of this linitis plastica is often called leather bottle stomach.
It is also known as Brinton’s disease. This is a fast-growing, aggressive cancer that is so dangerous because it is often not diagnosed until it is already in late stages.
Symptoms of Linitis Plasticia
In the early stages linitis plastica might not show any symptoms. As it progresses the patient may start to experience general abdominal discomfort. Often after they eat meals they feel full and bloated, even if they only eat a small amount. This occurs because the stomach wall can no longer expand and contract like it once did.
Symptoms that interfere with eating and digestion are common. These include diarrhea, nausea, extended periods or constipation, trouble swallowing, and vomiting blood. Other symptoms of linitis plastica include loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss.
Linitis plastica can also spread to the esophagus and begin to interfere with chewing and swallowing. This is often one of the first reasons that patients seek diagnosis and treatment.
If it is diagnosed in time linitis plastica can be treated with surgical removal of the cancer. If the tumor is too large or has spread, too much surrounding healthy tissue might be involved and surgery isn’t possible. In these cases chemotherapy and radiation treatments are used to hopefully shrink the tumor and keep the patient as comfortable as possible.
In either case a common symptom of treatment is that alternative feeding methods are necessary. Treatment of nausea and diarrhea also helps patients feel more comfortable.