Stomach cancer is a tumour which forms when cells in your stomach grow in an abnormal and uncontrolled way.
The exact cause is still unclear, but various health bodies say you’re more likely to develop it if you are male, are of 55 years of age or older, smoke, have a diet low in fibre and high in processed food or red meat, or have a diet that contains a lot of salted and pickled foods.
If you don’t get treatment for stomach cancer, it can spread to other parts of your body or organs, such as your liver.
But there are nine early signs of this type of cancer you can look out for, according to the NHS.
The early stage symptoms, according to the health organisation, include:
- Persistent indigestion
- Trapped wind and frequent burping
- Feeling full very quickly when eating
- Feeling bloated after eating
- Feeling sick
- Pain in your stomach or breastbone
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Vomiting (the vomit may be streaked with blood), although this is uncommon in the early stages)
When stomach cancer becomes more advanced, different symptoms may start to show. These include:
- Blood in your stools, or black stools
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Lumpiness and swelling in your stomach (caused by a build-up of fluid)
- Anaemia (a reduced number of red blood cells that can cause you to feel tired and breathless)
- Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
Stomach cancer is usually easier to treat if it’s diagnosed early.
The NHS advises: “Stomach cancer is much more common in older people, with 90 out of 100 cases occurring in people who are over 55 years of age.
“Indigestion is a very common symptom in the general population. However, it’s unlikely that someone with indigestion who’s under the age of 55 will have stomach cancer.
“However, see your GP if you have indigestion and weight loss, anaemia or persistent vomiting. They should refer you to a specialist for further testing.
“Also see your GP if you have difficulty swallowing. This isn’t a common symptom among the general population and the cause should always be investigated.”
Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK. You should see a doctor if you have this one tell-tale symptom.