Stomach cancer: Surgeon explains the symptoms
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The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) lists feeling sick, as well as being sick, as a potential sign of stomach cancer. It warns to be extra wary if you are “vomiting up solid food shortly after eating”. It says symptoms of the disease can be “vague” meaning they can go unrecognised.
It explains: “Stomach cancer is usually not found at an early stage because it often does not cause specific symptoms.
“People with stomach cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs.
“Sometimes, people with stomach cancer do not have any of these changes.
“Or, the cause may be a different medical condition that is not cancer.”
Stomach cancer, or gastric cancer, begins when healthy cells in the stomach become abnormal and “grow out of control.”
The ASCO adds: “Most stomach cancers are a type called adenocarcinoma.
“This means that the cancer started in the glandular tissue that lines the inside of the stomach.
“Other types of cancerous tumours that form in the stomach include lymphoma, gastric sarcoma, and neuroendocrine tumours, but these are rare.”
There are several other stomach cancer symptoms that revolve around eating.
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
- Bloating of the stomach after meals
- Loss of appetite
- Sensation of food getting stuck in the throat while eating
Patients could also experience diarrhoea or constipation as a result.
And symptoms of advanced stomach cancer may include:
- Weakness and fatigue
- Vomiting blood or having blood in the stool
- Unexplained weight loss
If you are concerned about any of these symptoms you are advised to see a doctor.
According to Cancer Research UK there are around 6,500 new stomach cancer cases in the UK every year, or 18 every day.
It is the 17th most common cancer nationwide, accounting for two percent of all new cancer cases.
Like most cancers there are several risk factors associated with stomach cancer that could make you more likely to develop the disease.
- Bacteria – specifically a common bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, that causes stomach inflammation and ulcers
- Age – most people who develop stomach cancer are in their 60s or 70s
- Diet – a high salt diet is known to increase the risk
- Previous stomach surgery
- Race/ethnicity – stomach cancer is more common in black, Hispanic, and Asian people than in white people
- Smoking and drinking
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