Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Stomach Cancer

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 5/2013
Symptoms and Signs

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ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages in this guide, use the colored boxes on the right side of your screen, or click “Next” at the bottom.

People with stomach cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with stomach cancer do not show any of these symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer. If you are concerned about a symptom or sign on this list, please talk with your doctor.

Stomach cancer is usually not found at an early stage because it often does not cause specific symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may be vague and can include:

  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting, particularly vomiting up solid food shortly after eating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Bloating of the stomach after meals
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sensation of food getting stuck in the throat while eating

Symptoms of advanced stomach cancer may include:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Vomiting blood or having blood in the stool
  • Unexplained weight loss

It’s important to remember that these symptoms can also be caused by many other illnesses, such as a stomach virus or an ulcer. People with any of the symptoms listed above should talk with their doctor.

Your doctor will ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis. This may include how long you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s) and how often.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms and side effects remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

Choose “Next” (below, right) to continue reading this guide to learn about what tests and scans you may have to learn more about the cause of your symptoms. Or, use the colored boxes located on the right side of your screen to visit any section.

© 2005-2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.

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