Stomach cancer is not very common but there are some early symptoms that can help you identify the condition. For women, the chance of developing stomach cancer is just one in 154, in reference to the American Cancer Society. It can be very dangerous because most of its symptoms appear totally normal. In some cases, the symptoms may not show at all. It is recommending to check with your doctor if you experience any or a combination of the following early symptoms of stomach cancer:
Blood in your stool
Blood in your stool may be an indication that you have stomach cancer. Bloody stool is also associated with other medical conditions that are not related to cancer. This is according to Allyson Ocean, M.D., a gastrointestinal oncologist at Well Cornell Medicine in New York Presbyterian.
If the bloody stool is due to stomach cancer, it is mainly caused by inflammation and may tend to manifest in early or more advanced stages.
Stomachache all the time
According to Ocean, patients complain of abdominal pain when usually referring to epigastric pain. This refers to an area located right under the bottom center of the ribs. The growth of cancerous cells in this area or any other point in your stomach can cause pain. However, the pain can be caused by other things like indigestion, kidney stones, and diverticulitis. If the pain becomes persistent or recurrent, you should book an appointment with your doctor.
Loss of appetite
There are many medical conditions associated with loss of appetite. Food lovers who suddenly develop loss of appetite should plan for an appointment with their GI doctor, according to Ocean.
Although ulcers can lead to loss of appetite, they may be a risk factor for stomach cancer. Sometimes ulcers are not painful and it can be difficult to tell whether you have them. Regardless of whether you notice symptoms associated with stomach ulcers, it is recommendable to go for regular checkups.
According to Ocean, heartburn is quite complicated in that it may indicate that you have cancer or you are at a higher risk. Most people who experience heartburn usually have a peptic ulcer. It is an indication that they have more acid in the stomach, which puts them at a higher risk of stomach cancer, according to Ocean.
Heartburn can manifest as a burning sensation, chest pain, or nausea. It can thus be difficult to self-diagnose. If you regularly take anti-acids for a couple of weeks, you should contact your healthcare provider.
Effortless weight loss
Weight loss can be an indication of stomach cancer partly because it is associated with loss of appetite. However, it can independently indicate that you have stomach cancer and is usually an early warning that something is wrong. According to Ocean, weight loss can be the only symptom that someone has stomach cancer when other signs aren’t noticeable.
To lose significant weight, you must work hard for it. Thus, if you are shedding pounds without any effort, you shouldn’t go unchecked. It can be an early sign that you have stomach cancer.
Sometimes, a stomach tumor may extend upwards into your esophagus, which can lead to something known as dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing. According to Ocean, you may notice a feeling that food is getting stuck in your throat. Alternatively, you may cough or chock when swallowing food or drinks, in reference to the American College of Gastroenterology.
In other instances, you may feel like food is coming back soon after you have swallowed it. Chances are that heartburn will likely accompany the swallowing difficulty. You should get checked soon if you notice something is wrong when swallowing.
Filling fast while eating
If you get full fast after you start eating, it may be an indication that you have stomach cancer at its advanced stages. Early satiety occurs when your stomach muscles can no longer push food into your intestines, according to Ocean. Your stomach may become distended and you may feel stuffed. In reality, this is an indication that the food can’t go anywhere.
A noncancerous condition called gastroparesis or a tumor can cause this full-too-soon feeling. Gastroparesis normally occurs when something is obstructing the stomach although it can not be detected through medical scans.
The Bottom Line
Most stomach cancer symptoms can be hard to spot without going for regular medical checkups. Although some may be noticeable during the advanced stages, most people normally assume the early symptoms. It’s worth noting that stomach cancer can be treated or managed if an early diagnosis is performed. Although the condition is not common, the symptom may present another medical condition that is alleviated through medical interventions. Thus, don’t ignore these or other suspicious signs and symptoms.