Though we all get stomachaches from time to time, pain isn’t typically an early symptom of stomach cancer.
Stomach cancer is one of those tricky diagnoses where most people may have retrospectively felt symptoms, but they’re usually vague symptoms that can be confused with many other benign gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.
Early stomach cancer symptoms are typically so unremarkable that they go completely unnoticed.
So what should you be on the lookout for instead? Here’s the lowdown on stomach cancer.
Early symptoms are commonly overlooked
Some of these early symptoms include:
- A general feeling of discomfort.
Because these symptoms tend to be dismissed as normal GI issues — and they are for most people — when stomach cancer is finally diagnosed, it’s often in the advanced stages.
Here are 7 potential warning signs of stomach cancer include:
- You unexpectedly lose weight and your appetite plummets. You no longer feel hungry and ultimately start losing weight without trying. That’s probably the most concerning symptom.
- You’re seriously fatigued. This could be from a slow blood loss which, coupled with unexpected weight loss, can be a sign of cancer. Blood loss can also lead to anemia, a low red blood cell count, that’s likely the source of your exhaustion.
- You have blood in your stool or vomit. This is much less common, but it can happen if you’re losing a lot of blood.
- You feel full, even after you’ve only eaten a small amount.
- Your bowel habits have changed. Maybe you’re experiencing recurrent bouts of diarrhea or constipation that are out of the ordinary.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms that don’t go away. For example, you’ve had nausea or abdominal discomfort that lasts for more than a couple days.
- You have GI symptoms that you haven’t experienced before. Reflux — when the contents of your stomach come back up into your esophagus — is a good example.
These are all signs that you should probably go see your primary care doctor to see if you warrant further testing.