Stomach cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the world. It is not known what causes this type of cancer, but certain factors increase the risk. This disease, called stomach cancer, is difficult to diagnose in part because the first symptoms are vague and can be confused with other benign diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Understanding the symptoms of stomach cancer can help you get medical help right away. This, in turn, increases your chances of a successful recovery. Below are some signs to look out for.
Abdominal pain or discomfort
Everyone gets stomach aches all the time. However, abdominal pain and discomfort is one of the common warning signs of stomach cancer, especially if it is above the navel. Stomach cancer can cause swelling and fluid accumulation in the abdomen.
Abnormal growth of cells in the stomach puts pressure on nearby organs and irritates the lining of the abdomen. Therefore, if these symptoms persist for more than two days, seek medical attention.
Stomach upset or heartburn
If left untreated, stomach cancer cells can grow and crowd out normal cells. This can impair your body’s ability to function properly. The result can be acid reflux, heartburn, and indigestion.
An upset stomach or heartburn that doesn’t go away could indicate a problem. For this reason, when the symptoms do not go away, they should not be ignored.
Loss of appetite
Stomach tumors can interfere with eating. Some growing cancers produce hormones that help your body recognize that it needs more food. Also, sudden and severe stomach pain can cause loss of appetite and difficulty swallowing.
When you have stomach cancer, you may feel full even after eating a small amount of food. A poor appetite can eventually lead to unexplained weight loss and low energy levels.
Diarrhea or constipation
Cancer cells can break away from the stomach and spread to other parts of the body. If a tumor grows in your small intestine, it can cause a blockage, which can lead to diarrhea. Likewise, abdominal tumors can compress and narrow the bowels, effectively causing constipation.
Changes in bowel patterns can be a sign of stomach cancer. If the changes are persistent and unexplained, you may want to seek medical attention.
Blood in stool or vomit
This is not a sure sign of stomach cancer. Bleeding is rare and can be caused by other non-cancerous conditions. However, when tumor bleeding occurs, blood in the stool and vomiting may be noticed. Blood can be dark red or dark brown depending on how long it has been in the stomach.
Bleeding in both vomit and stool, even if it’s a small amount, requires medical attention.
Low red blood cell count
Stomach cancer can cause anemia, which is a low red blood cell count. The bleeding that accompanies this type of cancer causes the body to lose red blood cells faster. This causes less oxygen to your organs, which can make you feel tired or weak.
Nausea and vomiting
The stomach is part of the gastrointestinal tract. When a tumor grows in your stomach and spreads to other organs, it can cause a blockage. It can cause nausea and vomiting, especially after eating solid food.
Some of these symptoms can be caused by conditions such as stomach ulcers or viruses. If you experience any symptoms, see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.