Roy Disney, Nephew of Walt Disney, Dies of Stomach Cancer

Roy E. Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, died today at age 79 of stomach cancer. Walt and his brother Roy O. Disney founded the Walt Disney Company. Roy E. grew up at the company, and worked there as a editor, screenwriter, and producer. He also lead two successful shareholders’ revolts against the Disney Co. when he felt that the company’s leadership was not following the right direction.

What is the stomach?
The stomach is a hollow organ in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. It is part of the digestive system. Food moves from the mouth through the esophagus to the stomach. In the stomach, the food becomes liquid. Muscles in the stomach wall push the liquid into the small intestine for absorption of nutrients into the body.

The wall of the stomach has five layers:

  • Inner layer or lining ( mucosa): Juices made by glands in the inner layer help digest food. Most stomach cancers begin in this layer.
  • Submucosa: This is the support tissue for the inner layer.
  • Muscle layer: Muscles in this layer contract to mix and mash the food.
  • Subserosa: This is the support tissue for the outer layer.
  • Outer layer (serosa): The outer layer covers the stomach. It holds the stomach in place.


What is stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is a malignant tumor in the stomach. It usually begins in cells in the inner layer (mucosa) of the stomach. Over time, the cancer may invade more deeply into the stomach wall. A stomach tumor can grow through the stomach’s outer layer into nearby organs, such as the liver, pancreas, esophagus, or intestine. Ninety to ninety-five percent of malignant stomach cancers are of a type called adenocarcinoma. This means that the tumor originates from the cells which make up the mucosa of the stomach.

What are the risk factors for stomach cancer?

  • Infection of the stomach with Helicobacter pylori  (a bacterium believed to be the cause of most peptic ulcer disease)
  • Chronic stomach inflammation
  • Male sex- especially men of Asian-Pacific, African-American, or Hispanic descent
  • Age over 65 years old
  • History of eating lots of salted, smoked, or pickled foods
  • Cigarette smoking, or alcohol overuse
  • Family history of stomach cancer

What are the symptoms of stomach cancer?

Early stomach cancer often does not cause symptoms. As the cancer grows, the most common symptoms are:

  • Discomfort or pain in the stomach area
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling full or bloated after a small meal (early satiety)
  • Vomiting blood or having blood in the stool

For more information:

Stomach Cancer
Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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