Stomach cancer – Symptoms, causes and other risk factors


Stomach cancer is also known as gastric cancer. This kind of cancer is one of the most unknown types of cancer. In the UK the number of people who are diagnosed with this type of cancer is around 7,000 every year [1,2].

Symptoms of stomach cancer

The symptoms of this condition can be very similar to some conditions which are not so serious. This is a reason why this type of cancer cannot be easily identified when it is in early stages.

  1. Symptoms of early stomach cancer:
  • Feeling sick
  • Persistent indigestion
  • Vomiting (the vomit may be streaked with blood), although this is uncommon in the early stages
  • Trapped wind and frequent burping
  • Feeling bloated after eating
  • Heartburn
  • Pain in your stomach or breastbone
  • Feeling full very quickly when eating
  • Difficulty swallowing (a condition which is known as dysphagia)
  1. Advanced stomach cancer:
  • Weight loss
  • Blood in your stools or black stools
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites on the eyes (jaundice)
  • Anemia (a reduced number of red blood cells that can cause you to feel tired and breathless)
  • Lumpiness and swelling in your stomach (caused by a build – up of fluid)

If you visit your doctor when the stomach cancer is in its early stages, then it will be easier for him or her to give you the right treatment. This kind of disease is most common in older people. In the most cases the stomach cancer can happen in people who are older than 55 years. Many of them feel indigestion. But the chances of someone who feels indigestion and who is under 55 years old to have a stomach cancer are very small. But if you have noticed that you have weight loss, indigestion, persistent vomiting or anemia, then you must visit your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will refer you to specialist because he or she will know which will be the perfect natural remedy for your condition. Also if you have difficulty swallowing, then you must visit your doctor as soon as possible. If you are above 55 and you have difficulty swallowing, then you must talk with your doctor because this kind of symptom is not common for people who are in this group. [3]

Causes of stomach cancer

When the cells in our stomach start to change, then we have stomach cancer. The real cause for the change of our stomach cells is not known. There is a mutation (change) in the structure of the DNA cells in our stomach which means that they are affected about their growing process. When the cells start to grow in uncontrolled way, then they reproduce uncontrollably and they produce a lump of tissue which is known as tumor. If you do not treat this type of cancer, then it can spread to other parts of our body. Usually this kind of cancer can spread through the lymphatic system. This is a network of glands and vessels which are known as lymph nodes which are located throughout our body. When this type of cancer reaches your lymphatic system, then it can spread to other parts of our body in which we can include our bones, blood and organs. The real cause for this type of cancer is not known. Doctors do not know what can trigger the changes in our DNA and what leads to stomach cancer. Also it is unknown why the stomach cancer can appear in small number of people.stomach cancer symptomsIncreased risk of getting stomach cancer: There are some factors which can increase your risk of getting stomach cancer. Here are the risk factors for stomach cancer:

  • Family history: It is not known why this type of cancer can run through generations but if you have someone in your family with stomach cancer, then you have increased chances of getting stomach cancer. [4]
  • Having another type of cancer: If you have breast cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, testicular cancer, bladder cancer and prostate cancer, then you have increased risk of developing stomach cancer. [5]
  • Certain medical conditions: If you have stomach ulcers or pernicious anemia, then you can get stomach cancer.
  • Age and gender: If you are above 55 years old, then you have increased chances of getting stomach cancer. Also men are having two times more chances of getting stomach cancer compared with women. [2,3]


[1] Roberts M. Stomach cancer ‘spotted by breath test’. BBC news. 2013. Retrieved from

[2] Cancer Research UK. Stomach cancer statistics. Retrieved from

[3] Christie J, Shepherd NA, Codling BW, Valori RM. Gastric cancer below the age of 55: implications for screening patients with uncomplicated dyspepsia.

[4] Choi YJ, Kim N. Gastric cancer and family history. The Korean Journal of Internal Medicine. 2016;31(6):1042–53.

[5] American Cancer Society. Stomach cancer risk factors. Retrieved from


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