Symptoms of Stomach Cancer

The symptoms of stomach cancer are difficult to detect, as in the early stages, there are very little signs, and as the cancer progresses its symptoms may take on characteristics of non-cancerous illnesses.

What is stomach cancer?

Before one can begin to look for the symptoms of stomach cancer it must first be defined, and explained to avoid any confusion. Cancers are already known as abnormal cell developments, so when that happens in the stomach it is referred to as Gastric cancer. Laymen use the word stomach to describe a general area, but in medical terms stomach defines a specific organ. The stomach is made up of five layers, of which the innermost, the mucosa, is where most cancer starts. How deep the cancer has penetrated into each layer, is major factor for patient survivability, which is why it’s important to identify the symptoms of stomach cancer as early as possible.

Apart from the danger to the organ itself, the cancer can spread to others nearby. While there are multiple causes for stomach cancer there is no single factor. What is known is that there are four cancer types Adenocarcinomas, Lymphoma, Gastrointestinal Stromal and Carcinoid. The latter two are rare.

What to look for

The symptoms of stomach cancer tend to happen in two stages. In the early stages it is an asymptomatic disease meaning no specific symptoms:

  • Weight loss: Losing weight due to a lack of appetite may be one of the very general symptoms of stomach cancer, but abnormal weight loss without any effort is a signal that something is going wrong.
  • Negative reactions towards eating: The host of symptoms here can also relate to weight loss as they negatively impact the eating habits of the person. The list of discomfort starts with something, as simple as feeling bloated after eating, heartburn, constant nausea, and indigestion.
  • This symptom may be ignored totally, as just being full. Called early satiety, persons develop a feeling of fullness after small amounts of food.

Late stage symptoms of stomach cancer are:

  • Abdominal pain: Generally happening in the upper areas of the stomach it can run the gamut, from mild to severe.
  • Vomiting: Yet another non-specific symptom, but stomach cancer causes persistent vomiting. The volume, and frequency may pose extra risk to the esophagus, but what is most important is to check for blood. Consistently vomiting blood, can lead to anemia.
  • Blood in stool: From the other end of the digestive track, sufferers might start finding blood in their stool, and can start experiencing both extremes of bowel movements whether constant diarrhea, or constipation. Regardless, the blood will show up as black, and like vomiting, the volume, and frequency can also bring on anemia.
  • Dyshpagia: This is having trouble swallowing.
  • Malignant Ascites: This symptom sees the stomach swelling due to the cancer cells, and associated fluids.
  • Excessive fatigue: This is a usually a side effect of the anemia brought on by the blood loss.

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