To conclude our survey of the symptoms which are currently acknowledged as characteristic of gastric cancer, it should be noted that the markedly high frequency of latent cancer (which is diagnosed only at its advanced stages) is due to the prevalence of the diffuse forms. In other words, the absence of clinical symptoms is more typical of endo-phytic cancer of the stomach (disregarding the terminal stage of the disease).

The special features of clinical symptoms of infiltrative tumors (which often develop in the absence of specific symptoms of malignancy due to tumor development in the submucous membrane and often with only microscopic signs on the mucosal surface) have been known for several centuries. The changes in the stomach wall in such cases were interpreted as the result of inflammation.

Lilientaud was the first to describe this pathology (1779). Andral (1829) interpreted the discovered thickening of the stomach wall as a result of hypertrophy. This standpoint was supported by W. Brin-ton (1864), who gave the name of linitis plastica to the discovered pathological changes. The name was deemed quite appropriate, and it has persisted up to the present to designate new growth inside the sub-mucous membrane, which markedly thickens the

stomach wall (D Fig. 26) [88]. If this disease runs an asymptomatic course, the tumor may spread over a significant area and become manifest only when the entire stomach has already been involved.

Early diagnosis of gastric cancer in the young is especially difficult. The time from appearance of the first complaints till the moment of establishing the diagnosis in aged patients is 6 months on average, whereas for persons aged 40-45 this period extends

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