Symptoms and Signs of Stomach Cancer
(Gastric Cancer)

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Stomach Cancer
(Gastric Cancer)

Stomach cancer (gastric cancer) occurs when cells of the stomach start to grow abnormally. The most common form of stomach cancer is adenocarcinoma, which develops from the glands of the innermost layer of the stomach. Gastric cancer often spreads through the wall of the stomach and into the adjoining organs (such as the pancreas and spleen) and into the lymph nodes. Stomach cancer can progress and spread (metastasize) through the bloodstream and lymph system to distant organs such as the liver, bones, and lungs.

Early symptoms of stomach cancer include may be vague and nonspecific and may include mild upper abdominal discomfort associated with nausea and loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing because of a tumor involving the upper part of your stomach near the esophagus, and a feeling of fullness after eating only a small amount of food. In advanced stages, symptoms of stomach cancer may include fatigue, weight loss, iron deficiency anemia, vomiting blood or a material that looks like coffee grounds or passing black stools, and severe nausea and vomiting caused by blockage of the stomach drainage by the enlarging cancer.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.