Gastric cancer, commonly referred to as stomach cancer, is a type of cancer that begins in the lining of the stomach. According to the American Cancer Society, gastric cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the world and the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths. In the early stages, the symptoms of gastric cancer may be vague and nonspecific, making it difficult to diagnose the disease. However, recognizing the common symptoms of gastric cancer is important for early detection and improving the chances of successful treatment.
One of the most common symptoms of gastric cancer is abdominal discomfort. Patients with gastric cancer may experience pain, bloating, or a feeling of fullness after eating. This discomfort can be caused by the cancerous tumor blocking the passage of food through the stomach or by the release of chemicals from the tumor that irritate the stomach lining. Nausea and vomiting may also accompany abdominal discomfort.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Unexplained weight loss is another common symptom of gastric cancer. Patients may experience a significant loss of weight without intentionally trying to lose weight. This can be caused by the body’s metabolism working harder to fight off the cancer or by a decrease in appetite due to the tumor’s impact on the digestive system.
Patients with gastric cancer may experience difficulty swallowing, also known as dysphagia. This can occur when the tumor grows and obstructs the passage of food from the throat to the stomach. Dysphagia may cause patients to feel like food is getting stuck in their throat or chest, and they may cough or choke while eating.
Fatigue and Weakness
Fatigue, anemia, and general weakness are also common symptoms of gastric cancer. This can be caused by the body’s immune system fighting the cancer or by blood loss resulting from the tumor. Patients may also experience changes in bowel movements, such as constipation or diarrhea, as a result of the tumor’s impact on the digestive system.
Gastric cancer can present with a variety of symptoms that can be difficult to distinguish from other gastrointestinal conditions. Patients who experience any of the symptoms listed above should seek medical attention as soon as possible, especially if the symptoms persist or worsen over time. Early detection and treatment are essential for improving the chances of survival and reducing the impact of the disease on patients’ quality of life. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gastric cancer, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider to determine the cause and receive proper treatment.