Stomach cancer symptoms can be vague and easy to mistake for less serious conditions. But spotting symptoms as early as possible can significantly improve a person’s chances of survival. There are six symptoms associated with this types of cancer, according to Cancer Research UK. Should you experience any of these, see your GP.
Stomach cancer symptoms can be vague and easy to mistake for less serious conditions
The most common symptoms of stomach cancer are listed by the cancer charity.
Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
You may feel pain or a burning sensation when you swallow, or food may stick in your throat or chest.
The charity adds: ‘A harmless narrowing of the food pipe (oesophagus) might also make it difficult for you to swallow. It is important to get this symptom checked by your doctor.”
This is weight loss when you’re not trying to lose weight.
The charity advises: “Rarely, extreme weight loss can be a sign of an advanced cancer.”
Persistent indigestion (dyspepsia)
Indigestion can occur when acid from the stomach comes back up the food pipe or irritation occurs in the stomach. This often happens after eating.
The charity says: “Remember, indigestion is common and it’s not usually caused by cancer. Indigestion and heartburn can be very painful, even if nothing’s seriously wrong.
“See your doctor if you’ve had heartburn most days for 3 weeks or more, even if you’re taking medicine and it seems to help.”
Feeling full after eating small amounts
The charity warned: “This is often an early symptom and can cause weight loss.”
Vomiting may occur because stomach cancer can cause a small blockage in the stomach.
This stops food from passing through your digestive symptom which can make you vomit.
The charity adds: “Rarely, there is blood in the vomit. You may not be able to see any blood if it is small amounts.
“The blood might be bright red, which means it is fresh bleeding. Or it may look dark brown, like used coffee grounds, if the blood has been in the stomach for a while.”
Causes of stomach cancer
The cause of stomach cancer is unclear, but there are a number of risk factors attached to the condition.
Most cases occur in people aged 55 or over and people who smoke are twice as likely to develop stomach cancer compared with non-smokers, according to the NHS.
A diet rich in pickled vegetables, salty foods and smoked meats have also been found to increase a person’s risk of developing stomach cancer, and a family history of the condition can also make it more likely.
Treatment for stomach cancer
The treatment for stomach cancer include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
But what treatment you have will depend on where your cancer is, how far it has spread, and how good your general health is, advises Bupa.
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