Compared to other forms of cancer, stomach or gastric cancer is relatively rare in the U.S. However, this isn’t the case internationally, so this form of cancer shouldn’t be underestimated. Identifying signs of stomach cancer early on can go a long way toward a full recovery. Keep reading to learn more about common stomach cancer symptoms and a sign that is typically ignored by most patients.
What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Stomach Cancer?
Unfortunately, stomach cancer can be asymptomatic in the early stages. As a result, it often goes undetected until it has significantly progressed. In symptomatic cases, the most common early signs that may point to stomach cancer include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weakness or fatigue
- Vomiting and nausea
- Difficulty swallowing
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Dark stool
- Stomach pain
- Gassiness and bloating
- Feeling full even after eating a small amount of food
Although anyone can get stomach cancer, certain factors increase your chances of developing this disease. These factors include a family history of stomach cancer and suffering from one of these underlying conditions:
- Helicobacter pylori infection
- Gastroesophageal reflux
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Stomach ulcer
- Stomach polyp
Furthermore, poor dietary and lifestyle habits can also increase the risk of gastric cancer.
What Stomach Cancer Symptom Do People Typically Overlook?
Despite being one of the most common signs of stomach cancer, unexpected weight loss is typically overlooked. Since weight loss is non-specific to gastric cancer, patients usually misattribute it to other health issues and unrelated causes.
Talk to Your Doctor
Due to a relatively small number of cases in the U.S, there’s no routine screening for stomach cancer. However, if you’re at a higher risk of developing this form of cancer or experiencing some listed symptoms, you should talk to your doctor. Instead of regular screening, you can get a regular endoscopy, thus keeping an eye on any changes in the gastrointestinal tract.