Stomach cancer is not very common in the UK, but like any cancer, it’s important to recognise all the signs so treatment can be more successful. The symptoms of stomach cancer can be mistaken for less serious conditions, such as heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion.
Like heartburn, burping and feeling full after eating can also be signs of indigestion.
Other common symptoms include having no appetite and losing weight.
Other possible symptoms are pain or swelling in the upper tummy area, feeling or being sick, having difficulty swallowing, blood in stools or black stools, and feeling tired and breathless.
The cancer charity advises: “These symptoms can be due to other conditions. But it’s important to get them checked.
“Your doctor can arrange tests if necessary. If you are over 55 and suddenly develop indigestion that doesn’t go away, you should always have an endoscopy.”
Stomach cancer causes
Anyone can get stomach cancer, but it’s not always clear what causes it.
The NHS says you might be more likely to get stomach cancer if you:
- Are over the age of 50
- Are a man
- Have a long-term infection with Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori)
- have certain stomach conditions, such as long-term, severe acid reflux, gastritis or a condition called pernicious anaemia, which effects your immune system
- Have a brother, sister or parent who had stomach cancer
Stomach cancer treatment
Treatment for stomach cancer will depend on the stage of the cancer.
A person with stomach cancer may undergo one or more treatments, including surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or targeted cancer drugs.
Cancer Research UK advises: “A team of doctors and other professional discuss the best treatment and care for you. They are called a multidisciplinary team.
“The treatment you have depends on where your cancer is, how far it has grown or spread (the stage), thy type of cancer, how abnormal the cells look under a microscope (the grade), and your general health and level of fitness.
“Your doctor will talk to you about your treatment, its benefits and the possible side effects.”