Early stage stomach cancer rarely causes symptoms, making early detection very difficult. Stomach cancer may or may not present with vague gastrointestinal symptoms, including indigestion, abdominal pain or discomfort, nausea and vomiting, bloating, or the feeling of fullness when eating a meal (also called early satiety). These symptoms can also be associated with other gastrointestinal illnesses, however, and should be discussed with a doctor who can perform tests to determine the cause of the symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer can include:
- Indigestion, heartburn or ulcer-type symptoms
- Difficulty swallowing
- Abdominal pain or vague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
- Nausea and vomiting and/or bloating after meals
- Vomiting blood, or blood in the stool
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Weakness and fatigue
- Sense of fullness after eating small amounts of food (also called early satiety)
- Symptoms may mimic other conditions, such as GERD, gastritis or peptic ulcer
Signs and symptoms should not be ignored. Most of these symptoms may be caused by things other than stomach cancer. They may also occur with other types of cancer. People who have any of these symptoms, especially if they don’t go away or get worse, should see their doctor to determine the cause and be treated.