Changes In Bowel Habits
Changes in bowel habits, including diarrhea and constipation, are common occurrences that everyone experiences at one time or another. But persistent changes, including intermittent bouts of constipation and diarrhea, may be early signs of stomach cancer.
Cancer itself can alter digestion and lead to these problems. At the same time, as the malignancy spreads, it can cause the narrowing of the intestinal passageway and the onset of constipation. The accumulation of fluid behind the stricture can eventually cause the release of watery diarrhea, typically accompanied by acute abdominal pain.
Feeling And Being Sick
Stomach cancer can cause a blockage in the stomach. This stops food from passing through your digestive symptom which can make you feel or be sick.
Rarely, there is blood in the vomit. You may not be able to see any blood if it is small amounts. The blood might be bright red, which means it is fresh bleeding. Or it may look dark brown, like used coffee grounds, if the blood has been in the stomach for a while.
What Should I Do If I Am Experiencing Symptoms
It is important to remember these symptoms can be caused by many different conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome or indigestion, and arent usually the result of cancer.
However, if you regularly experience one or more of these symptoms which are not normal for you, do not ignore them, contact your GP straight away.
Recommended Reading: Why Does My Stomach And Back Hurt
What Causes Pain In People With Cancer
The cancer itself often causes pain. The amount of pain you have depends on different factors, including the type of cancer, its stage , other health problems you may have, and your pain threshold. People with advanced cancer are more likely to have pain.
Cancer surgery, treatments, or tests can also cause pain. You may also have pain that has nothing to do with the cancer or its treatment. Like anyone, you can get headaches, muscle strains, and other aches or pains.
Stomach And Back Pain
A common symptom of pancreatic cancer is a dull pain in the upper abdomen and/or middle or upper back that comes and goes. This is probably caused by a tumor that has formed in the body or tail of the pancreas because it can press on the spine.
Some patients describe pain starting in the middle abdomen and radiating into the back. Pain can be worse when lying down and can often be relieved by leaning forward. Pancreatic cancer pain can differ from person to person, so be sure to discuss any new pain-related symptoms with your doctor.
Read Also: How Effective Is Coolsculpting On Stomach
How To Lower Your Risk
As a society, we eat a lot of processed and unhealthy foods that cause these benign symptoms that we have. We really need to shift back to a cleaner, mostly plant-based diet, says Dr. El-Hayek. Theres no doubt that the data supports a diet thats rich in fresh vegetables, minimal fruit and minimal meat, especially processed meat. Avoiding these toxic foods will not only decrease a persons risk for cancer development, but also the digestive symptoms from eating them.
What Happens At The Gp Appointment
The GP may feel your tummy.
They may ask you to give a poo or pee sample, or have a blood test.
The GP may refer you to see a specialist in hospital for more tests if they think you have a condition that needs to be investigated.
This may be an urgent referral, usually within 2 weeks, if you have certain symptoms. This does not definitely mean you have cancer.
Also Check: Does Acid Reflux Cause Stomach Pain
Can I Do Anything Else To Avoid Dyspepsia
Yes, for example:
If you smoke, stop smoking.
If some foods bother your stomach, try not to eat them.
Try to reduce the stress in your life.
If you have acid reflux, don’t eat right before bedtime. Raising the head of your bed with blocks under two legs may also help.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, don’t take a lot of anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen , aspirin, naproxen , and ketoprofen . Acetaminophen is a better choice for pain, because it won’t hurt your stomach.
Read the full article.
- Get immediate access, anytime, anywhere.
- Choose a single article, issue, or full-access subscription.
- Earn up to 6 CME credits per issue.
Advanced Stomach Cancer Symptoms
Symptoms of advanced stomach cancer are more serious than symptoms of early stage stomach cancer. Because advanced stage stomach cancer has grown and spread, it can also effect nearby organs including:
- The liver
- The large intestine
If stomach cancer has grown to create a blockage within the stomach or the large intestine, you may experience:
- Loss of appetite
Don’t Miss: What Can Cause Stomach Bloating And Weight Gain
Pain From The Cancer Itself
Pain from the cancer can be caused by a tumor pressing on nerves, bones, or organs.
Spinal cord compression: When a tumor spreads to the spine, it can press on the nerves of the spinal cord. This is called spinal cord compression. The first symptom of spinal cord compression is usually back and/or neck pain, and sometimes it is severe. Pain, numbness, or weakness may also happen in an arm or leg. Coughing, sneezing, or other movements often make the pain worse. If you have this kind of pain, it is considered an emergency and you should get help right away.
Spinal cord compression must be treated right away to keep you from losing control of your bladder or bowel or being paralyzed. If youre treated for the compression soon after the pain begins, you can usually avoid serious outcomes. Treatment for spinal cord compression usually involves radiation therapy to the area where the tumor is pressing on the spine and steroidsto shrink the tumor. Or you may be able to have surgery to remove a tumor thats pressing on the spine, which may then be followed by radiation.
Bone pain can also happen as a side effect of medicines known as growth factor drugs or colony-stimulating factors . These drugs may be given to help prevent white blood cell counts from dropping after treatment. CSF drugs help the body produce more WBCs which are made in the bone marrow. Because the bone marrow activity is higher with these drugs, bone pain may occur.
Total Gastrectomy Or Oesophagogastrectomy
If your cancer is in the middle or at the top of your stomach, you may need to have a total gastrectomy. If the cancer is close to the end of your oesophagus, where it meets your stomach, you may need to have an oesophagogastrectomy.
If you have a total gastrectomy, the end of your gullet will be joined to the top of your jejunum . If you have an oesophagogastrectomy, the remaining part of your gullet will be joined to your jejunum.
You May Like: What To Give Kids For Stomach Ache
Crampy Pain With Diarrhea Or Constipation
Lower “crampy” abdominal pain accompanied by bloating and diarrhea or constipation can be signs of irritable bowel syndrome , says Singh. “It’s exceptionally common and affects 15% of the U.S. population, particularly younger women, although it can happen at any age.” Symptoms of IBS can usually be controlled by managing diet, lifestyle, and stress. Medication and counseling may be needed in some cases.
Liver Cancer Pain Location
Liver cancer pain is commonly focused on the top right of the abdominal area, near the right shoulder blade. The pain can sometimes extend into the back. It can also be felt in the lower right portion of the rib cage.
The pain might be accompanied by swelling in the abdomen and in the legs and ankles. This type of swelling can also cause discomfort.
People with liver cancer or cancer that has spread to the liver can experience pain from numerous sources, including:
- Tumors. The pain associated with liver cancer can be caused by a tumor or tumors in the liver.
- Capsule stretching. Stretching of the capsule around the liver can cause discomfort.
- Referred pain. Discomfort can also come from referred pain caused by the enlarged liver putting pressure on the nerves under the diaphragm. This may result in pain in the right shoulder, because some of the nerves under the diaphragm connect to nerves there.
- Treatment. Pain can be the result of treatment. Cancer medications have been known to cause gastrointestinal discomfort and nausea. Also, surgery can cause postoperative pain.
- Underlying causes. If liver cancer has been caused by cirrhosis, sometimes the pain is not from the tumor, but from the cirrhosis.
Treatment of pain associated with liver cancer can take many forms.
Recommended Reading: How Can I Get Rid Of Gas In My Stomach
Symptoms That Resemble Other Conditions
The symptoms of pancreatic cancer may be similar to those of other conditions or medical problems, which can delay diagnosis even further. Upon diagnosis, patients often look back and start to make a connection between various symptoms that seemed unrelated or unremarkable at the time.
Listen to your body and consult with your doctor about any new symptoms you may be experiencing, even if you think they can be explained. While cancer is probably not the culprit, diagnostic tests can help to confirm the case.
Your Stomach Hurts All The Time
Ocean says that when patients complain of abdominal pain, theyre usually talking about epigastric pain, which refers to the area right under the bottom center of your ribs.
Pain in that location could be caused by the growth of a cancerous mass somewhere in your stomach, although it could also be dozens of other things, like indigestion, diverticulitis, and even kidney stones. Persistent pain pretty much always warrants a doctors visit, so go ahead and make an appointment if youre having recurrent pain.
Read Also: What To Do If Your Stomach Hurts Really Bad
Common Early Signs Of Stomach Cancer
More than 7 in 100,000 people are diagnosed with each year, while 3 in 100,000 die from the disease. About 0.8% of all men and women will be diagnosed with stomach cancer at some point in their life. As of 2017, 116,525 in the United States were living with stomach cancer.
In 2020, the National Cancer Institute estimates 27,600 new cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed, which is roughly 1.5% of all new cancer cases. The NCI also projects 11,010 deaths from stomach cancer in 2020, which is 1.8% of all cancer deaths.
Because stomach cancer affects men and women differently, and can be difficult to diagnose, it is crucial to understand its unique traits and the illnesses it can mimic. This article covers the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer, the different disease stages, primary causes, warning signs and how to manage it.
When To See A Doctor
Many causes of intermittent stomach pain, such as ovulation pain, do not require treatment. Others, such as food sensitivities, are not medical emergencies.
It can be difficult to decide when to see a doctor and when to wait, so it is important to pay attention to any additional symptoms. Seek medical care for severe pain or pain that gets worse with time.
Speak to a doctor about:
- unexplained stomach pain that gets steadily worse over time
- worsening menstrual cramps or cramps that are regularly severe
- worsening digestive symptoms
- symptoms of an ulcer or a digestive disorder
- occasional, mild pain in the upper right abdomen
Symptoms that may require emergency medical attention include:
- intense stomach pain during pregnancy
- symptoms of premature labor
You May Like: Should You Take Milk Of Magnesia On An Empty Stomach
Your Appetite Dries Up In A Hurry
You were hungry when you sat down to eat. But after a few bites, your appetite vanishes and the food isn’t appealing. Dr. Sarpel calls this “early satiety,” and says it’s another symptom that couldemphasis on couldindicate stomach cancer. “Especially if feeling full really quickly is different than what you’re used to, that’s something you shouldn’t ignore,” she says.
How Can You Detect Stomach Cancer Early
Be sure to contact your medical provider if you feel like something is not right. There are screening tests for stomach cancer when people are at risk for or are experiencing signs and symptoms. Diagnostic evaluations for gastric cancer include:
- Complete medical history and physical exam
- Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy to view the esophagus, stomach and small intestine after sedation. A small, flexible tube is inserted into the mouth with a tiny camera on the end that allows the doctor to see inside your stomach.
- Biopsy of stomach tissue to be evaluated under a microscope
- CT scan to visualize organs during X-ray
- Endoscopic ultrasound to diagnose and treat stomach cancer at the same time by visualizing organs and nearby blood vessels
- Positron emission tomography scan to illuminate cancer cells. A radioactive sugar tracer is used because cancer cells use more sugar than healthy cells and the tracer illuminates the cancer cells.
Recommended Reading: Why Does My Stomach Get Bloated Every Time I Eat
What Are The Different Types Of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer, also known as , is the name for a category of cancer. There are many different types of stomach cancer:
- Adenocarcinoma: Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of gastric cancer, comprising more than 90% of all stomach cancers. Carcinoma that occurs in the innermost lining of the stomach.
- : Cancer of the immune system that accounts for 4% of all stomach cancer, which is not from the mucosa of the stomach lining. It is broken up into primary and secondary lymphoma of the stomach.
- Primary lymphoma involves the stomach and can eventually affect the lymph nodes, bone marrow and other parts of the body.
- Secondary lymphoma initially involves other parts of the body, like circulating blood, lymph nodes, bone marrow and other organs. Secondarily, cancer spreads to the stomach.
You’re Getting Full Way Sooner Than Usual While Eating
This is actually a sign of later-stage stomach cancer, but its worth noting. Early satiety happens when your stomach muscles can no longer push food through the intestines properly, says Ocean. The stomach becomes distended and people feel stuffed, but in reality its just that the food isnt going anywhere.
This full-too-soon feeling can be caused by a tumor, but can also be caused by a non-cancerous condition called gastroparesis, which happens when a person has the sensation that something is obstructing their stomach, but medical scans don’t show anything.
Don’t Miss: What Causes Stomach Pain And Nausea
What Should I Do If I Have Symptoms
If you have jaundice, go to your GP or A& E straight away.
If you have any of the other symptoms, you dont know why you have them, and they last four weeks or more, go to your GP.
Give your GP a good description of your symptoms. Mention anything unusual, even if you are not sure if it is relevant. If your GP asks you to come back and see them at a later date, make sure you do. Read more about visiting your GP, and our tips for helping you talk to your GP.
If you have symptoms of pancreatic cancer, its really important that you contact your GP, despite the current situation with coronavirus. Dont worry about your GP or the NHS being too busy at the moment, or it being unsafe.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer often doesnt cause symptoms in the early stages. As the cancer grows, it may start to cause symptoms. The symptoms may not be specific to pancreatic cancer, and they may come and go to begin with. This can make pancreatic cancer hard to diagnose.
These symptoms can be caused by lots of things, and are unlikely to be pancreatic cancer. If you are not feeling well and you have any of the symptoms on this page, speak to your GP to check if there is anything wrong.
Common symptoms include:
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Bacteria In Your Stomach
How Do You Feel When You Have Stomach Cancer
Symptoms of Stomach Cancer
Nausea and vomiting: Especially regurgitating solid food shortly after eating. Vomit can sometimes contain blood. Feeling full after eating a small amount : Many cancer patients experience the feeling of fullness in their upper abdomen after eating small amounts of food.
Pain Or Discomfort In The Abdomen
What is it?
Abdominal pain or discomfort is one of the most common symptoms and one of the first symptoms to often present itself.
The pain or discomfort can be caused by the tumour invading nerves or organs that lie near the pancreas. The pain or discomfort is usually felt above the belly button and below the breast area , however, some patients report they have pain and discomfort without a specific location.
How do I know if I have this?
Having tummy pain or discomfort is a common symptom for many diseases and does not mean you have pancreatic cancer. However, if this is new and unusual for you or combined with other symptoms you should visit your GP to check.
You May Like: How Do Probiotics Work In The Stomach
After A Diagnosis Of Stomach Cancer
After being diagnosed with a stomach cancer, you may feel shocked, upset, anxious or confused. These are normal responses. A diagnosis of a stomach or oesophageal cancer affects each person differently. For most it will be a difficult time, however some people manage to continue with their normal daily activities.
You may find it helpful to talk about your treatment options with your doctors, family and friends. Ask questions and seek as much information as you feel you need. It is up to you as to how involved you want to be in making decisions about your treatment.
Learn more about best stomach cancer care: