Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, originates from the cells that line the stomach. The abnormal growth and division of these cells ultimately leads to the development of a tumour. The risk of stomach cancer includes being aged 50 and above, smoking, a family history of the disease, and having had conditions such as chronic gastritis and stomach polyps in the past.
What are Signs & Symptoms of Gastric Cancer?
Gastric cancer often does not cause symptoms in its early stages. However, gastric cancer symptoms become noticeable as the disease progresses. Here are what you should look out for:
- Abdominal Discomfort or Pain: This is one of the most common symptoms. The pain is usually located in the upper abdomen and may be persistent or intermittent.
- Changes in Appetite: Early satiety (feeling full after eating only a small amount) or loss of appetite can be an early sign.
- Weight Loss: Unexplained weight loss is often an early sign of stomach cancer. This can be due to a decreased appetite or the body's inability to absorb nutrients from food.
- Nausea and Vomiting: Many people with stomach cancer experience nausea and vomiting. In some cases, vomit may have visible blood or it may look like coffee grounds, which may be a sign of bleeding in the stomach.
- Fatigue: General fatigue or weakness are often associated with cancer in general, as the disease affects the body’s overall health and energy levels.
- Anaemia: As stomach cancer bleeds, it can lead to anaemia, which is characterised by a low red blood cell count, leading to fatigue and sometimes shortness of breath.
- Indigestion and Heartburn: Persistent indigestion, heartburn, or a feeling of discomfort or burning in the stomach can be a sign of stomach cancer.