As medical researchers and healthcare providers have emphasized in messages to the public over the past decades, cancer can often be beaten or at least managed. But this depends on one all-important factor—detecting the disease before it has the chance to develop and spread.
However, stomach cancer isn’t the most common form of cancer in the United States, but unfortunately, this means that it isn’t often screened. As such, people reporting symptoms that could be warning signs often get misdiagnosed or simply go undiagnosed altogether.
But while early-stage stomach cancer can be hard to catch, knowing how it can manifest might give you the crucial time you need. As the American Cancer Society notes, “people who have any of these problems, especially if they don’t go away or get worse, should check with their doctor so the cause can be found and treated.”
Here are some stomach cancer symptoms:
A common problem suffered by people who have issues with acid reflux, heartburn occurs when the contents of the stomach (any food or drink recently consumed) come back up the esophagus. Obviously, this can create a lot of discomfort.
If you’ve done everything you can to avoid heartburn, such as taking medication and eliminating triggering foods and drinks such as alcohol, spicy foods, chocolate, caffeine, and acidic foods, but are still suffering from persistent heartburn, then it might be time to talk to your doctor about screening.
2. Abdominal Pain
Many people suffer from cramps that are completely unrelated to stomach cancer. Sometimes this can be related to dietary issues, such as not eating enough fibrous foods or consuming spoiled foods. Other times, it also has to do with common diseases such as stomach flu. Meanwhile, some women also experience abdominal pain during their monthly cycles.
But if you can rule out these other causes and the stomach pain is extremely painful and recurrent, then why not minimize the risk and go see a doctor.
Most people will experience an upset stomach at some point, whether due to food poisoning or seasonal bugs (a.k.a 24-hour flu), and it can often be brief but violent.
But if you find yourself throwing up very often, with or without blood, then it’s time to find out why.
4. Extreme Diarrhea or Constipation
If you are suffering from extreme diarrhea or constipation, either of these ends of the spectrum could be connected to stomach cancer. Obviously, both of these conditions can have other causes, but if they happen to be inexplicable and severe, it’s very important to seek help.
5. Decreased appetite
Do you find yourself less and less interested in food? Maybe it’s time to check out what’s behind that. This is often a result of a viral infection such as pneumonia, gastroenteritis, or meningitis. However, if you’ve been checked for all these conditions and had them all ruled out, then some kind of stomach cancer screening could be in order. This could be accompanied by rapid weight loss according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Obviously, this is a difficult symptom to identify the cause of. Abnormal levels of fatigue can be caused by any number of things, of which stomach cancer is only one. But if you find yourself with some of the symptoms described above and also happen to have an unusually high level of tiredness, then it could be that stomach cancer is at the root of it.
7. Feeling Full
According to the Cancer Treatment Center of America, one of the symptoms of stomach cancer is that people experience a sense of fullness in their upper abdomen even after just consuming just small proportions of meals.
Last but not least, constant stress reduces your immunity and makes you liable to bacteria and viruses that can lead to stomach cancer. If you have any combination of the above symptoms and also have a high-stress profession and lifestyle, then it’s a good idea to get yourself checked out.
While stomach cancer can be tricky to catch early, the benefits of getting it identified and treated in the early stages could mean the difference between survival or death.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.