The stomach is one of the most important parts of the human digestive system. The development of cancerous growth in the stomach ruffles the entire metabolic system and has to be treated immediately. Stomach cancer is quite common in the Asian, Hispanic, African Americans and Pacific Highlanders races and is the cause of over 800,000 cancer deaths worldwide.
In the early stages, stomach cancer produces very few noticeable symptoms, which makes early diagnosis and treatment very difficult. Some of the symptoms that do occur, may not be conclusively and specifically related to stomach cancer but to other unrelated or related disorders in the body.
The late appearance of the symptoms of stomach cancer may lead to advancement in the stage of cancer. Stomach cancer generally metastasizes and infiltrates into other regions of the body making prognosis a difficult affair for medical experts. This asymptomatic nature of stomach cancer, especially during the early stages, makes it important to contact a general physician as soon as some signs or symptoms appear.
The Symptoms Visible In Stage 1 Of Stomach Cancer
Indigestion, Heartburn Or A Burning Sensation In The Stomach
Some of the earliest symptoms connected with stomach cancer are increased levels of indigestion, burping and heartburn. These symptoms are quite harmless and the patients may have suffered from the same for a long time before the diagnosis of stomach cancer.
The burning sensation in the stomach or heartburn, is related to many other stomach and digestive disorders and cannot be attributed to malignancy alone. The patients tend to undergo tests and treatments for other problems, if they have consistent gastric, wind or digestion issues. Only one out of fifty patients with the above symptoms is diagnosed for stomach cancer.
Feeling Full and Loss In Weight
One of the important symptoms of stomach cancer is a loss of appetite. Food products such as meat and other difficult to digest items, go off the dietary regimen, as the patients feel extremely full after eating a small portion of their meals. The lack of proper food intake ultimately leads to a reduction in weight. If the body starts loosing significant weight due to loss in appetite or any other unexplained reasons, it is important to have a proper check up done, to find out the cause for the same.
Abdominal Irritation or Discomfort
Though abdominal pain or aches in the stomach are common symptoms connected with transient disorders and many other serious diseases, which may not be cancerous, the discomfort in the abdomen is an important symptom of stomach cancer and should be checked by a doctor immediately. If there is serious aggravation and pain in the abdominal area, urgent intervention may help in the early detection and treatment of stomach cancer.
The Symptoms Visible In Stage 2 of Stomach Cancer
Weakness and Fatigue
As the stage of stomach cancer advances, there is a general loss of energy and increase in the fatigue levels of the patients. General weakness and fatigue can be attributed to many other diseases and disorders, but if it is accompanied by weight loss, abdominal discomfort or any other prominent symptoms of stomach cancer, then an immediate visit to the doctor becomes essential.
Bloating or Swelling of the Stomach
In the advanced levels of stomach cancer, there is a tendency of the stomach swelling up or bloating after a meal. This may be caused due to poor digestive functions and failure of the stomach to break down the consumed food.Sometimes there is a possibility of a lump formation in the stomach due to the development of fluid in the abdomen. This condition is known as ascites and is considered to be an important symptom of stomach cancer.
Symptoms In Stage 3 of Stomach Cancer
Abdominal Pain In the Upper Portions of the Abdomen
If the patient complains of abdominal pain in the upper middle portion of the abdomen, then it may be a symptom of gastritis, stomach cancer or stomach ulcer. The location of the pain should be observed and communicated to the physician at the earliest.
Nausea and Vomiting
As the stomach cancer grows and spreads to other regions in the later stages, there are persistent bouts of nausea and an increased frequency of vomiting. Patients feel breathless very soon and cannot indulge in any physically challenging or stressful activities. It is common for most patients to feel sick and delirious as the nauseas feeling takes over.
Constipation or Diarrhea
Some patients, who have reached an advanced stage of stomach cancer, often complain of constipation and difficulty in passing stools. The bowel movements become irregular and there may be an increased frequency of having loose motions and diarrhea. These are some of the important symptoms of stomach cancer, though they cannot be specifically attributed to the same.
Stomach cancer leads to anemia and loss of blood. There are common instances of traces of blood during vomiting. The blood may be fresh and bright red or may have a coffee brownish tinge. The constant loss of blood can lead to a severe drop in the count of red blood cells leading to symptoms of anemia.
Sometimes the tiredness and paling of the stomach cancer patients is attributed o this loss of blood .It is important to note that the bleeding from the stomach can take place even in the early stages of stomach cancer and a proper watch has to be kept for the same. Apart from the traces of blood from the mouth, there may be traces of blood in the stool which is of a dark brown or black coloration.
Symptoms of Dysphagia
One of the lesser common symptoms that appear in the advanced stages of stomach cancer is similar to the symptoms caused by Dysphagia. If the stomach cancer manages to infiltrate into the esophagus or the cardia, then there is a difficulty in swallowing .The patients find it difficult to pass the masticated food through the food pipe into the stomach and this creates severe discomfort.
It is evident that the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer do not directly point to the malignancy in the system. It is important to be alert and understand the various symptoms and the stages in which they may appear. An immediate appointment with a doctor facilitates a speedy diagnosis and treatment of stomach cancer.