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Stomach or gastric cancer develops in the inner lining of the stomach. This type of cancer typically grows at a slower rate than other forms, and it is easy to overlook the relatively mild symptoms in the early stages. Stomach cancer produces different symptoms depending on the area of the stomach where it develops.

Pain in the upper abdomen

Stomach cancer may not present with many symptoms in its earliest stages. When it does, individuals may feel vague abdominal pain and fullness and varying levels of discomfort above the navel. During the later stages of gastric cancer, this can be due to a buildup of fluid in the upper abdomen. This pain may come and go, ranging from dull to severe.

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Indigestion

Indigestion is a general term that describes discomfort in the upper abdomen. Any type of irritation or inflammation in the area of the stomach can cause this symptom. Although it can be a symptom of stomach cancer, in most cases, indigestion is not indicative of a serious condition and can be treated with over-the-counter medications. It is not unusual for people to experience mild indigestion after eating a big meal or eating too fast. However, anyone experiencing repeated indigestion should speak to a doctor.

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Feeling sick in general

A person who has stomach cancer may find they become ill more often. The immune system's focus on fighting the cancer leaves the body susceptible to other illnesses and infections. Anyone who is becoming sick more often than previously should schedule an appointment to speak to their doctor, especially if they are experiencing other symptoms as well.

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Loss of appetite

Often, those with stomach cancer experience a loss of appetite. The disease leaves people without a desire to eat for several days at a time. An unexpected loss of weight, due to less food consumption and the body's efforts to fight the disease, may also occur with stomach cancer.

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Blood in bowel movements

A common symptom of stomach cancer is blood in the bowel movements. When the stomach or its lining bleeds, the fluid may collect with the rest of the body's waste. Stool with blood in it can appear almost black in color. While there are other causes of both dark stool and bloody stool, any significant changes to bowel movements should be medically investigated.

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Feeling full after eating a small amount of food

Many individuals with stomach cancer feel full even after they have eaten a small meal. The fluid buildup that accompanies stomach cancer can also create the illusion of a full stomach. Feeling full after eating a small amount is more common with stomach tumors that block the opening where the stomach connects with the small intestine. Early fullness can occur with other illnesses as well, but people who experience other worrying symptoms in conjunction with this should see a healthcare professional.

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Nausea

Stomach acid and fluids typically build up in the stomach when one has stomach cancer. This can create nearly constant nausea. Symptoms may also include vomiting or a feeling like one needs to vomit. These symptoms are not solely indicative of stomach cancer, but if coupled with multiple symptoms, may point to a health concern.

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Fatigue

Feeling tired can be the result of a myriad of conditions and factors. However, when one is sleeping sufficiently, feeling more tired than usual can be a sign of an underlying condition. With gastric cancer, the tumor may bleed microscopically. The loss of small amounts of blood can cause anemia and chronic fatigue.

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Low-Grade fever

A fever is one way the body fights infection. People with stomach cancer may experience recurring low-grade fevers. This is due in part to the malignancy in the stomach area and the immune system's efforts to fight it. Fever is more common with advanced stomach cancer.

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Problems swallowing

Difficulty swallowing is a relatively common symptom of stomach cancer, although it can occur with other health conditions as well. It's most common in people who have a tumor where the upper stomach meets the esophagus. Some people may feel like they cannot swallow, even if there are no physiological barriers to the action. Individuals who experience this symptom can try to moisten their throats with lozenges. A healthcare professional can run tests to see if this is a symptom of stomach cancer.

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Night sweats

Frequent night sweats that drench your bedclothes and sheets may be a sign of an underlying health issue, including infections, hormonal changes, or cancers like stomach cancer. While night sweats alone are not a cause for concern, when they occur without any apparent explanation and are accompanied by other symptoms, they should prompt a visit to a healthcare provider for further evaluation.

Exhausted woman suffering suring the heatwave, she is holding a water bottle and sitting in front of a cooling fan in the bedroom

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Unexplained bruising

Unusual and spontaneous bruising or bleeding, especially in areas where you haven't experienced trauma, can be a warning sign of various medical conditions, including stomach cancer. Bruises associated with cancer typically last 10 days and start out with a reddish hue before changing to purple or brown before fading. If you notice an increase in unexplained bruising, it's essential to contact a healthcare provider for a thorough evaluation.

Close up of stain bruise wound on leg, contusion asian young woman, girl on joint knee from an accident fell down, hand in healing injury by massage hematoma blood. Extravasation blue, purple on skin.

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Mole abnormalities

While changes in skin moles are often associated with skin cancer, other types of cancer (such as stomach cancer) can also cause changes in moles. Pay attention to any mole that exhibits a change in size, shape, color, or texture. Such changes may warrant a dermatologist's evaluation. If left unchecked, gastrointestinal melanoma can develop.

a large and unusual mole or freckle on a woman's arm was diagnosed as malignant melanoma skin cancer

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Frequent infections

Frequent, recurrent infections, such as respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, or sinus infections, may raise concerns about the body's immune system. While recurrent infections may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or underlying medical conditions, they are also associated with cancer. While these recurrent infections may be an indication of stomach cancer, recent research suggests that they may also cause the disease. Several studies found that multiple H. pylori infections pose a significant risk factor for gastric cancer. Consult a healthcare professional if you experience frequent infections to determine if further evaluation is necessary.

Virus vaccine and flu or coronavirus medical fight disease control as a doctor fighting a group of contagious pathogen cells as health care for researching a cure with 3D illustration elements.

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Shortness of breath

When so severe it interferes with daily life, shortness of breath, or dyspnea, is a concerning symptom that warrants medical attention. It may result from various causes, including heart problems, lung conditions, anxiety, or anemia. When unexplained and persistent however, shortness of breath could be a symptom of several types of cancer, including stomach cancer. Seeking prompt medical evaluation is crucial for a thorough assessment and accurate diagnosis.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.