Gastric Cancer Symptoms
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Symptoms of Gastric Cancer
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is the pathway for digestion. Adenocarcinomas of the stomach or intestines may affect the body's ability to process and absorb nutrients. Tumors in the abdomen can create a feeling of fullness or discomfort after eating. Stomach pain or nausea, although symptoms of advanced gastric cancer, may also be caused by stomach viruses, like the flu, or other non-cancerous conditions.
If symptoms are present, they will vary depending on the location, size and spread of the tumors. Often, there are no early signs of stomach or intestinal cancers.
The following are some general symptoms of gastric cancer:
- Decreased appetite / weight loss
- Enlarged abdominal mass / bloated feeling
- Abdominal pain or discomfort (usually located above the navel)
- Nausea and/or vomiting (with or without blood)
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Ulcer-like symptoms
- Changes in bowel habits
NOTE: These symptoms may be attributed to a number of conditions other than cancer, such as an infection or other illness. It is important to consult with a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.
Understanding Symptoms of Gastric Cancer
Most symptoms of gastric cancers are related to the location of the tumor. For example, a tumor in the upper gastrointestinal tract may cause localized changes that affect digestion or bowel habits. These symptoms may lead to changes that affect your whole body, such as fatigue and weight loss.
Gastric adenocarcinomas, one of the more common types of gastric cancer, often begin growing along the lining in the lower part of the stomach. The cancer may spread along the stomach wall up into the esophagus or down into the intestines.
As the cancer spreads to these other sites along the gastrointestinal tract, you may experience symptoms similar to esophageal cancer or colorectal cancer. Likewise, if the cancer spreads to distant sites, such as the liver, lungs or pancreas, other gastric cancer symptoms may develop.
Tumors that spread to distant sites are made up of cells found in the stomach, where the cancer originated. In women, if stomach cancer spreads to an ovary it is called a Krukenberg tumor (named after the doctor who first described the tumor).
More on Symptoms of Gastric Cancer
Symptoms of stomach cancers usually do not become apparent until it has reached an advanced stage. The American Cancer Society reports that the only about 20 percent of stomach cancers are diagnosed in the early stages before symptoms are recognized. It is important not to ignore minor symptoms because, even non-cancerous conditions like gastritis, may become a risk factor for gastric cancer if left untreated.
Gastric cancer symptoms may be signs of other conditions, like ulcers. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or if you believe you may be at risk because of a related genetic syndrome, you should seek advice from a qualified medical professional.
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