Stomach cancer can be difficult to recognize as the initial symptoms are similar to those of less serious conditions. For this reason, stomach cancer is often only diagnosed once it has already reached an advanced stage.
Some examples of initial stomach cancer symptoms include:
- Recurrent or persistent bouts of indigestion
- Trapped wind and frequent burping
- Abdominal bloating after eating
- Feeling full shortly after starting a meal
- Recurrent episodes of heart burn or acid reflux
- Nausea or feeling sick. In rare cases, the vomitus may be streaked with blood in the early stages.
- Pain in the stomach or breast bone
- Difficulty in swallowing. This is termed dysphagia.
Some examples of stomach cancer that is in the more advance stages include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Tiredness and fatigue
- A lump or swelling in the stomach due to fluid build-up. Cancer cells can irritate the abdominal lining, which then secretes excess fluid.
- Anemia that gives rise to pale skin, fatigue and shortness of breath.
- Jaundice or a yellowish discoloration of the skin, whites of the eyes and nail beds.
- Blood in the stools. This is a sign of bleeding in the stomach. Stools may be a tarry color due to digestive enzymes and bacteria turning the hemoglobin black as it passes through the gut.