Signs and Symptoms of Stomach/Gastric Cancer1,2
Generally, stomach cancer does not show symptoms at an early stage. Hence, it is difficult to identify. If symptoms occur, they may be indistinct and can include the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal discomfort
- Feeling full after small meals
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Vomiting, with or without blood
- Abdominal swelling or fluid build-up
Causes of Stomach Cancer3,4
Risk factors increase the chances of getting cancer. Even though risk factors influence cancer development, most of them do not cause cancer directly. Sometimes cancer does not occur in people with several risk factors.
The following are the factors that increase the risk of stomach cancer:
Age: There is an increased cancer rate in people aged 50 and above, and most commonly diagnosed in 60 and 70-year-olds.
Gender: More common in men compared to women.
Ethnicity: Most common in Black, Hispanic, and Asian people compared to white people.
Bacterial infection: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a common bacterium causes stomach inflammation and ulcers, particularly in the lower part of the stomach. It is one of the major causes of stomach cancer.
Family history: People who have first-degree relatives like parents, siblings, or children with stomach cancer are at higher risk of cancer.
Diet: Consuming high amounts of smoked foods, salted fish and meat, and pickled vegetables increases the risk of stomach cancer. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables might reduce the risk of cancer.
Previous surgery: People who have undergone stomach surgery are at higher risk of cancer.
Health conditions: Patients with pernicious anemia (reduced red blood cells due to decreased intake of vitamin B12) or achlorhydria (no hydrochloric acid in the stomach that helps in digestion of food) are at higher risk.
Occupations: Certain occupations like working in coal, metal, and rubber industries increase cancer risk.
Tobacco and alcohol: Using tobacco and alcohol consumption increases cancer risk.
1) Available from: https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/stomach-cancer/symptoms-and-signs. Accessed on 30/12/2020.
2) Available from:https://www.cancer.org/cancer/stomach-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-symptoms.html. Accessed on 30/12/2020.
3) Available from:https://www.cancer.org/cancer/stomach-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html. Accessed on 30/12/2020.
4) Available from:https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/stomach-cancer/risk-factors. Accessed on 30/12/2020.