What're the symptoms of stomach cancer?
Stomach cancer can be hard to find early. Often there are no symptoms in the early stages and, in many cases, the cancer has spread before it is found. When symptoms do occur, they are often so vague that the person ignores them.
Patients with more advanced tumors usually complain of indigestion and pain in the upper abdomen. Significant weight loss is common, and other symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Some tumors cause gastrointestinal bleeding or anemia while others cause difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) by blocking the junction between the lower gullet (esophagus) and stomach. Occasionally the condition only presents when the disease is advanced with evidence of spread of tumor to the liver or the abdominal cavity - this may cause a build up of fluid in the abdomen (ascites). As with cancer of the oesophagus, it may take a long time, often many months, from the time that symptoms first appear to the patient seeking medical advice. This delay may allow time for the tumour to spread and to progress from being potentially curable to being inoperable.
Any of these symptoms may be caused by cancer or by other, less serious health problems, such as a stomach virus or an ulcer. Only a doctor can tell the cause. People who have any of these symptoms should see their doctor. They may be referred to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating digestive problems. These doctors are sometimes called gastrointestinal (or GI) specialists.
More information on stomach cancer
What is stomach cancer? - Stomach cancer (gastric cancer) is a disease in which normal cells in the stomach tissues become cancerous and grow out of control.
What causes stomach cancer? - Stomach cancer arises from changes in the internal lining of the stomach. Stomach cancer is more common in smokers and in those with heavy alcohol intake.
What're the risk factors for stomach cancer? - Risk factors for stomach cancer include eating foods high in starch and low in fiber, smoking, drinking alcohol, and vitamin A deficiency.
What're the symptoms of stomach cancer? - Symptoms of stomach cancer include weight loss, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal bleeding, nausea and vomiting.
How is stomach cancer diagnosed? - A complete medical history will be taken to check for any risk factors. A thorough physical examination will be conducted to assess all the symptoms.
What're the stages of stomach cancer? - Staging of stomach cancer is based on how deep the growth has penetrated the stomach lining. Staging may not be complete until after surgery.
What's the treatment for stomach cancer? - Standard treatment available for stomach cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
How to prevent stomach cancer? - By avoiding many of the risk factors associated with the disease, it is possible to prevent many stomach cancers.