Most common stomach cancer symptoms: When should you see a doctor?

Stomach cancer: Surgeon explains the symptoms

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Did you know the symptoms of stomach cancer can include burping a lot? Stomach cancer has many symptoms and can often be passed off as indigestion or “nothing serious”. However, this cancer can have severe consequences. Here are the most common symptoms of stomach cancer and what to do if you spot early warning signs.

Stomach cancer, also sometimes referred to as gastric cancer, is the name given to cancer starting in the stomach.

This type of cancer is most common in men, and over half of those who are diagnosed with the condition are aged over 75.

The symptoms of stomach cancer can be difficult to spot because they mirror other less serious stomach conditions.

However, this reinforces the importance of not writing off symptoms as “nothing serious” without consulting your GP.

Although symptoms are statistically far more likely to be a digestive problem than stomach cancer, you should visit a healthcare professional to rule out cancer and to get treatment for your symptoms.

What are the most common symptoms of stomach cancer?

According to the NHS, many of the symptoms of stomach cancer can affect your digestion.

These can include:

  • Heartburn or acid reflux
  • Having problems swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Symptoms of indigestion, such as burping a lot
  • Feeling full very quickly when eating

Other symptoms can affect your overall health such as:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Losing weight without trying to
  • A lump at the top of your tummy
  • Pain at the top of your tummy
  • Feeling tired or having no energy

For some people with digestive conditions or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), they may experience symptoms like these regularly, but if you notice symptoms worsening or anything out of the ordinary for you, it’s worth getting checked out.

It’s especially important to be vigilant about these symptoms if you’re a man aged over 75, as this places you in the most at-risk category, but anyone who is worried should seek medical advice.

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What will happen at the doctor’s appointment?

If you go to the doctor with concerns about your stomach, the GP will examine your tummy, checking for any lumps.

The GP will have to ask you questions about your symptoms: try not to feel embarrassed, this is their day-to-day.

It can help to make a note of your symptoms beforehand, tracking when they started and if they’ve gotten progressively worse.

They may also ask you for a urine or stool sample and could request you take a blood test.

If the doctor suspects you may have a condition causing your symptoms they may refer you to a specialist appointment.

The NHS says: “This may be an urgent referral, usually within 2 weeks, if you have certain symptoms.

“This does not definitely mean you have cancer.”

Cancer Research UK has a very useful guide to help you on a doctor’s appointment, including questions you might want to ask as it can be easy to forget in the moment if you’re feeling nervous. 

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