Stomach cancer is also known as gastric cancer and is characterized by the growth of cancer cells in the lining of the stomach. Stomach cancer is the third leading cause of deaths by cancer worldwide but is difficult to diagnose early since it doesn’t exhibit any symptoms in its initial stages. The disease is diagnosed only after it reaches its advanced stages and has started to metastasize.
Symptoms of a stomach or gastric cancer
Some very early signs of stomach cancer include persistent digestion, heartburn, and difficulty in swallowing. But these symptoms are not enough to detect a disease as serious as cancer because it might be symptoms of many other common diseases too.
This is one reason why patients with stomach cancer can be detected only at a later stage when the disease has already advanced and cancer has spread to other organs. The process of the digestive system getting cancerous happens very slowly and it might take many years for the development.
Here are some common symptoms of stomach cancer:
- Frequent cases of heartburn
- Too much burping
- Vomiting and nausea
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Constant bloating and flatulence
- Feeling full after eating a small quantity
- Bloody stools
- Constant tiredness and fatigue
- Stomach pain after every meal
It is important to note that experiencing these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have stomach cancer. It might also be due to stomach infection or ulcer.
If you are aged above 55 years and experience these symptoms often, it might be time that you should see your doctor at once.
Some risk factors that might lead to stomach cancer and requires early intervention with a medical professional are:
- If family or a close relative has/had stomach cancer
- If you had an instance of gastritis
- If you have pernicious anemia, a condition where the stomach does not absorb Vitamin B12 properly from food
- If you have Barret’s esophagus
At an advanced stage of stomach cancer, you might experience some prominent signs and symptoms like –
- Fluid retention in the stomach that might give the feeling of lumpiness in the stomach
- Black stools with blood
- Fatigue and drastic weight loss
- Loss of appetite
Can you lower your risk of developing stomach cancer?
Yes, you can prevent the risk of a stomach cancer by following a few healthy habits
- Eat low-fat, balanced food
- Quit smoking and excess alcohol consumption
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
Always keep a check of your health with your doctor. Go for medical screenings and blood tests to detect any form of cancer at an early stage and improve your chances of survival.