Nov 28, 2022 1:00 PM

Read Time: 3 minutes

Author: Des Sandoval

Stomach cancer is a disease that occurs when cancer forms in stomach tissue. The most common type of stomach cancer is called gastric adenocarcinoma, which occurs when cancer cells appear in stomach lining. Other forms of stomach cancer exist, but are rare.

There are five stages of stomach cancer. The stage is determined by how the cancer spreads.

Causes and risk factors of stomach cancer

Having a risk factor increases your chances of cancer. Most people who are diagnosed with stomach cancer are between the ages of 60-80 and were assigned male at birth. Other risk factors for stomach cancer include smoking, a poor diet, a family history of cancer, and more.

Digestive tract shown in woman outlining the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, large intestine, small intestine, rectum, and anus.

Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer are the same regardless of gender. Read on to learn about seven of them.

  1. Pain or discomfort in the stomach area

Abdominal pain or discomfort can mean an ache or cramps. There are many causes of stomach pain from mild to serious, but combined with other symptoms can be a reason to see your doctor.

  1. Difficulty swallowing

Difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia, can happen depending on where the tumor develops. Symptoms include needing more time to chew and swallow, feeling food get stuck in your throat, pain when swallowing, or coughing or choking.

  1. Weight loss for no reason

While carrying extra weight is unhealthy, losing weight without trying can be a cause of concern.

  1. Bloating, swelling, or loss of appetite

Feeling full or bloated after a meal, loss of appetite, and abdominal swelling can all be symptoms

  1. Jaundice

Yellowing of the eyes and skin is called jaundice. This is caused by an excess of a chemical called bilirubin in the body.

  1. Regurgitation or uneasiness

Heartburn, vomiting, nausea, and indigestion can be signs of a stomach tumor.

  1. Blood in your stool or vomit

If you notice blood in your stool or vomit along with other symptoms, you should talk to your doctor right away. 

When to see your doctor

These symptoms are common signs of stomach cancer. However, many other health concerns can also cause these symptoms. Schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms for more than a few days. If you have blood in your vomit or stool, see your doctor right away.

Your health care team may use a variety of tests to diagnose stomach cancer. These include a physical exam, laboratory tests, an endoscopy, and/or a biopsy. After diagnosis, your doctor may order other tests, which could include CT scans, PET scans, or MRI scans.

Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancers Program provides complete and compassionate care. Learn more about types of stomach cancer treatments.


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