Stomach Cancer

Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is one of the most frightening forms of cancer. This type of cancer typically emerges in the mucus-producing cells that line the stomach (called adenocarcinoma). The Mayo Clinic explains that stomach cancer often begins as a malignant tumor that can spread or metastasize to other areas of the body.

Thankfully, the number of stomach cancer cases, particularly the kind that develops in the main part of the stomach, have been steadily declining in the U.S. each year. On the other hand, cancer in the top part of the stomach (cardia), where the stomach meets the esophagus, has become more common. To stay informed on this condition, read about the most common signs and symptoms of stomach cancer…

1. Upset Stomach

One of the reasons stomach cancer can be so dangerous is that it’s often confused with fairly typical (and relatively harmless) stomach problems, such as run-of-the-mill nausea. Because we often associate upset stomach with the foods we eat, it can be easy to miss stomach cancer in its early and even intermediate stages.

If you experience an upset stomach for an extended period of time, don’t just assume that it’s related to your diet. Talk to your doctor about the issue and ask him or her about tests for stomach cancer.

2. Weight Loss

In our image obsessed society, we typically see weight loss as a step in the right direction when it comes to health. But it can actually be a sign that a major health problem, such as stomach cancer, is beginning to emerge.

In fact, one of the major symptoms of the onset of stomach cancer is unexplained weight loss. If you find that you’re losing weight and have not made major changes to your diet or exercise regime, talk to your doctor about the issue. It’s also wise to speak with your doctor if you find that you’ve suddenly lost all interest in food and have very little appetite.

3. Stomach Pain

Upset stomach is no fun. It can leave us feeling so uncomfortable that we can spend hours running to the bathroom. It can also make carrying out daily activities—from going to work to playing with the kids—just about impossible.

However, stomach pain is a whole other matter. It’s acute (sudden) pain in the abdomen, often in the area surrounding the navel. This could be the result of swelling and buildup of fluid, both of which can be caused by the emergence of stomach cancer. If you regularly feel pain in this part of your body, talk to your doctor right away.

4. Full Feeling

Those of us who have been on a diet know the biggest challenge can be knowing when to say “enough is enough” and stop eating. That’s because eating often becomes something of a therapeutic process for people who have trouble with weight management.

However, feeling full can actually be a sign that stomach cancer is beginning to emerge. If you sit down to a meal and no longer feel hungry after just a few bites, there may be cause for concern. Talk to your doctor about the issue.

5. Heartburn

Acid reflux, or heartburn, has now become one of the most prevalent health issues in America. When you think about it, it’s not particularly surprising. After all, many of the foods Americans love, such as fried and spicy foods, are closely associated with heartburn or indigestion.

The good news is that heartburn can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. The bad news is that, should these problems persist, they may be a sign of stomach cancer. If you have regular issues with heartburn and don’t get relief from OTC treatments, talk to your doctor right away.

6. Vomiting

Having an upset stomach from time to time is one thing, but regularly vomiting is a whole other problem. Put simply, vomiting on a regular basis is anything but normal and can be a symptom of many different problems, not all of which are associated with the stomach.

That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor if you find that you vomit involuntarily more than once or twice a month. This is especially important if the vomiting is violent in nature or if there is evidence of blood in the vomit, as this could be a sign of stomach cancer.

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Dr. Gerald Morris

Gerald Morris, MD is a physician (Family Medicine/Internal Medicine) with over 20 years expertise in the medical arena. Dr. Morris has spent time as a clinician, clinical research coordinator/manager, medical writer, and instructor. He is a proponent of patient education as a tool in the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic medical conditions. Hence, his contribution to articles on Activebeat.

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