When cells in the body begin to grow out of control, cancer starts. Any cells can become cancerous, and this cancer can easily spread to other parts of the body. Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is a cancer that grows within the multiple areas of the stomach. This type of cancer typically grows at a slower rate than other forms of cancer, and its symptoms in the early stages can often be overlooked, due to their lack of initial severity. When the cancer grows in different areas of the stomach, it can produce completely different symptoms. Let's take a look at a few of those symptoms to better understand this disease.
1. Pain in the Upper Abdomen
Unfortunately, stomach pain does not always show a lot of symptoms in its earliest stages. Therefore, it is not diagnosed until it is often much later in its progression, making treatment more difficult. One of the symptoms of stomach cancer can be abdominal pain and multiple levels of discomfort often present right above the naval. This area is not always sensitive to the touch, but may develop more into an achy feeling, which can also sometimes be caused by a build-up of fluid in the upper abdomen. This pain may come and go, ranging from dull to extremely severe.
Indigestion of various degrees can be caused when stomach acid comes back up into the food pipe, and this can happen when there is any type of irritation or inflammation in the area of the stomach. Heartburn, caused by indigestion, can cause extremely severe pain, even though it is not generally a serious condition. It can usually be treated with over-the-counter medication, and there are also excellent medicines that can be prescribed by a physician. Heartburn and indigestion can be caused by many different illnesses, so it is not always related to stomach cancer, but it is a symptom.
3. Feeling Sick in General
A person suffering from stomach cancer may find that they are becoming ill more and more often. While the immune system is attempting to fight away the cancerous cells, it leaves the body susceptible to other illnesses, include less serious conditions like the common cold or the stomach flu. If you find that you are becoming sick more often than normal, along with any of the other symptoms of stomach cancer, then an appointment should be made as soon as possible. While there are many other reasons that could be the culprit behind this symptom, this is always something to take seriously, especially when it lasts for more than two weeks.
4. Loss of Appetite
Often, patients suffering with stomach cancer will experience a loss of appetite. Due to the gastrointestinal implications of this condition, it is very typical that it will leave the individual without a real desire to eat, often not experiencing what feels like real hunger for several days at a time. Of course, people may go a few days without feeling like eating without any serious condition behind it all, but it can also be a sign of something more. A loss of weight may also be another direct result, which is yet another indication, especially when no lifestyle change is involved.
5. Blood in Bowel Movements
A common symptom of stomach cancer is blood that can be found during bowel movements. When the stomach or its lining may be bleeding, this blood can often drain from this area into bowel movements, which can take on almost a black coloring. Now, stool can also take on a darker hue if a person's diet is rich in iron, or if they are taking iron supplements, so this is not always a direct indicator of stomach cancer. However, finding blood in the stool can be a bit frightening, so it is always best to see a doctor as soon as possible.
6. Feeling Full After Eating a Small Amount of Food
Many individuals may experience a time when they seem to have a sense of being "full", even after they have only eaten a very small meal. Of course, there are numerous reasons that could cause this symptom, so it is not always a direct indicator of stomach cancer. This symptom can also be a signal of gastrointestinal problems, or even a stomach flu. However, if you are experiencing one or two other symptoms, then you should make an appointment with a health care professional, as that the fluid that can build up in the stomach can definitely create the illusion of a full stomach.
Stomach acids and fluids typically build up in the stomach when a patient has skin cancer, which can give the nearly constant feeling of being nauseous. These symptoms may also include vomiting, or feeling the need to vomit. However, there are all manner of reasons to feel sick to one's stomach, including the flu or just from eating greasy food. It does not always directly indicate stomach cancer. However, when coupled with multiple other symptoms, one should definitely schedule an appointment with a doctor so that the appropriate tests may be completed.
8. Feeling Tired
Feeling tired is a rather broad symptom, and this feeling can definitely be caused by a myriad of conditions. You may have had a rather rough week or work, or that new baby may be keeping you awake all hours of the night. However, when you are sleeping sufficiently, and you haven't taken on more activities than normal, feeling more tired than usual can be a sign of an underlying condition. When a person has stomach cancer, they will have a reduction in their red blood cells (anemia), which will definitely take down the energy level a notch.
9. Low-Grade Fever
When the body is attempting to fight an infection, a fever can occur. Those suffering from stomach cancer are more likely to experience off and on bouts of a low-grade temperature, due in part to the malignancy in the stomach area. Fever can, of course, be a warning sign of a host of other illness and infections, so it is not always an indicator of stomach cancer. However, if you are also experiencing one or more other symptoms that point to stomach cancer or any other form of cancer, it is always best to visit a physician as soon as possible.
10. Problems Swallowing
Difficulty in swallowing is another symptom of stomach cancer, although it seems that it is not as prevalent as many of the more common warning signals. Due to many of the gastrointestinal issues, as well as the acid and the liquid in the stomach, it can cause the actual problem with swallowing, as well as the appearance and feeling of not being able to swallow, even though the action can take place. When this occurs, it is best not to try to force the throat to swallow, but to try to moisten it with throat lozenges or even cough drops. And of course, a health care professional can run tests to see if this is, in fact, a symptom of a serious disease, such as stomach cancer.