Cancer is a word no one wants to hear come out of their doctor's mouth. It is scary, but knowing the signs to look for can help you identify your cancer before it becomes a bigger problem. Here is important information to know about stomach cancer.
What Is Stomach Cancer?
Stomach cancer refers to an abnormal growth of cells that starts in your stomach. Your stomach is a muscular sac that is found in the upper middle of your abdomen. It is right below your ribs. The functions of your stomach are to receive and hold the food you eat and then help digest it.
It is also known as gastric cancer, and it can affect any part of your stomach. In most areas of the world, stomach cancer usually begins in the stomach body. However, in the U.S., it is more likely for stomach cancer to start in the esophagus. That's the long tube that connects your mouth and your stomach.
Potential Signs of Stomach Cancer
It is important to note that none of the below symptoms absolutely means you have stomach cancer. They are just symptoms that can appear if you have stomach cancer. All these symptoms can be caused by other things.
Does it seem like you just aren't as hungry as you used to be? Are you finding yourself skipping meals or eating very little at each meal? Poor appetite is one potential sign of stomach cancer. In a similar vein, if you are feeling full after eating a small meal, that is another indication you could be sick.
Unexpected Weight Loss
If you are suddenly losing weight and aren't making an effort to do so, it would be wise to discuss it with your doctor.
There are many causes for abdominal pain, but most of them come and go. However, if you are experiencing frequent abdominal pain, see your doctor.
Swelling in Your Abdomen
Check in with your doctor if you have noticed that your abdomen seems a little out of shape and looks swollen.
Discomfort Above Your Navel
Along with abdominal pain, discomfort in the area above your navel can also be an early sign of stomach cancer.
Heartburn or Indigestion
It is normal to get heartburn or indigestion after eating certain foods, but if you are frequently having these symptoms and there is no obvious cause, it could be an indicator of stomach cancer.
Nausea or Vomiting
There are many illnesses that can cause you to feel nauseous or cause vomiting. However, if you are experiencing one or both of these symptoms for an extended period, it would be wise to discuss it with your doctor.
Blood in Your Stool
If you notice there is blood in your stool, you should talk with your doctor. This can be a sign of stomach cancer, but it can also signify other big problems.
Anemia is when you have too few red blood cells. This can cause you to feel tired or weak with no other explanation.
Jaundice is the yellowing of your skin and eyes. If stomach cancer spreads to the liver, it can cause jaundice. If you have signs of jaundice, you want to speak to a doctor no matter what because it needs to be dealt with.
Stomach cancer isn't something anyone wants to have to deal with. However, knowing the early warning signs is a great way to take a proactive approach to your health. If you have any concerns about symptoms you develop, talk to your doctor, and they can help you through it.