What Are the Most Common Signs of Stomach Cancer?

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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2019
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While most patients experience very few or no symptoms early on, there are several common signs of stomach cancer that occur as the disease progresses. Many people experience difficulty eating, including appetite loss, trouble swallowing, and feelings of excessive fullness and bloating after a small meal. Some patients have indigestion and heartburn, while others may experience gastrointestinal issues like nausea, vomiting, and blood in their stools. Other symptoms can include pain in the abdomen, fatigue, and weight loss. As these symptoms are fairly non-specific and can indicate a variety of other problems, and because a tumor in the stomach can grow to be very large before it causes any significant symptoms, people who have them should typically be examined by a doctor to determine if stomach cancer is to blame.

Problems with eating are some of the most common signs of stomach cancer. Some patients tend not to feel hungry as the tumor in their stomach gets larger and takes up more space. When they do eat, they may have difficulty swallowing and getting food down. Often, eating a meal, even a fairly small one, can lead patients to feel overly full and may even cause discomfort or abdominal pain.


Other issues that are frequently signs of stomach cancer are indigestion and heartburn. Particularly after a meal, patients may tend to feel bloated, gassy, and uncomfortable. They may also notice a burning sensation in their stomach and chest from acid reflux.

Stomach cancer can also lead to some unpleasant symptoms affecting digestion. As the cancer grows, many people tend to feel nauseated frequently, which often leads to vomiting. In some cases, they may have bleeding in their stomachs, and blood can be present in their vomit. Blood may also appear in a patient's stools, making them appear black and tarry.

There are several other signs of stomach cancer that patients may notice during later stages of the disease. Patients may tend to have a general feeling of discomfort or even pain in the abdomen from the pressure of the tumor, particularly in the upper and middle sections. They may tend to feel weak or tire easily, sometimes due to a mild case of anemia. Some patients may notice they are losing weight, in part due to the cancer itself, but also possibly due to issues with eating enough food.


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