Stomach Cancer

StomachGastric cancer, commonly referred to as stomach cancer, can develop in any part of the stomach and may spread throughout the stomach and to other organs; particularly the esophagus, lungs, lymph nodes, and the liver. Stomach cancer causes about 800,000 deaths worldwide per year.

Stomach cancer is often asymptomatic or causes only nonspecific symptoms in its early stages. By the time symptoms occur, the cancer has often reached an advanced stage (see below), one of the main reasons for its poor prognosis. Stomach cancer can cause the following signs and symptoms:

Stage 1 (Early)

  • Indigestion or a burning sensation (heartburn)
  • Loss of appetite, especially for meat
  • Abdominal discomfort or irritation

Stage 2 (Middle)

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Bloating of the stomach, usually after meals

Stage 3 (Late)

  • Abdominal pain in the upper abdomen
  • Nausea and occasional vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Bleeding (vomiting blood or having blood in the stool) which will appear as black. This can lead to anemia.
  • Dysphagia; this feature suggests a tumor in the cardia or extension of the gastric tumor in to the esophagus.