Stomach Cancer Symptoms Collage

Stomach Cancer Symptoms

First of all, watch the stomach cancer symptoms video. As it’s true that one image is worth a thousand words, let’s start with the whole video.

Here you are (remember: you have to clic over the video if you want to start playing!)

Once you’ve seen it, you can read the information. Please, feel free to comment anything you want at the end of the page.

Let’s start learning all the symptoms of stomach cancer!


Stomach cancer is one of the malignant tumors that usually wins us the game.

Although it takes time noticing its symptoms, the person who suffers it, usually delays consulting with a doctor. That’s why this cancer is often diagnosed when it’s already too advanced.

So it is very important knowing the symptoms stomach cancer can cause when it is located just in the stomach. Here they are (you can watch the video starting in the part of the symptoms of stomach cancer when the tumor is still only in the stomach, simply clicking on this video)

Situation 1: An initial abdominal disturbance appears, and gradually becomes a real pain

The most common symptom of stomach cancer that has not spread outside the organ, is abdominal pain.

Between 60 and 90% of people with stomach cancer will be suffering abdominal pain.

It is a pain that begins as a nuisance, poorly defined and poorly localized in the abdomen. It’s similar to the feeling of indigestion, or the abdominal disturbance of people with gastritis. The difference is that it lasts all day.

Over time it’s accentuated, and tends to be located in the central part of the belly, just below the ribs.

Unlike the pain of gastric or duodenal ulcer, the pain due to stomach cancer doesn’t usually change significantly neither with food ingestion, nor with taking antacids.

The most common symptom of localized #StomachCancer is abdominal pain Click To Tweet

Situation 2: Swallowing becomes progressively difficult, and gastroesophageal reflux appears

When stomach cancer is located in the region of entry of food from the esophagus to the stomach, an area called cardia, the tumor can hinder the entry of food we have eaten, producing two symptoms:

  • Symptom 1: We can note that, when swallowing food, these food get stuck in the chest. When this happens, we will have to swallow water to help the bolus get into the stomach.
  • Symptom 2: Bitter waters may start coming to the mouth. This gastroesophageal reflux appears because stomach cancer is very close to the lower esophageal sphincter, which can cause it to incompletely close.

When this happens, food with gastric juices can escape from the stomach upwards, towards the esophagus, causing the acid reflux.

#StomachCancer can cause gastroesophageal reflux and difficult swallowing Click To Tweet

Situation 3: Nausea and vomiting appears when the person starts eating

When stomach cancer is located at the pylorus, which is the region of the stomach that drives food into the small intestine, it may obstruct or even close this natural outlet of the gastric content.

If the exit is obstructed, when we have enough food in the stomach it detects that gastric content will not be emptied. Therefore it informs the brain, so that it triggers the sensation of nausea and starts the vomiting reflex.

It will take place then the contraction of the stomach wall, causing the expulsion of the food with gastric juices upwards, into the esophagus and mouth. We’ll vomit what we have ingested.

When #StomachCancer is located in the pylorus nausea and vomiting can appear Click To Tweet

Situation 4: Satiety appears sooner and sooner. Because of that, we’ll gradually eat less and less amounts of food

The less common variety of stomach cancer is the diffuse variety, which affects the entire stomach, not just one of its parts. If the entire stomach is infiltrated by tumor cells, its wall distensibility decreases.

When we start taking food, the stomach with this type of tumor does not distend properly, so it’s full too soon. This filling communicates to the brain the satiety sensation, so the person with this type of gastric cancer stops eating.

Early satiety can be a sign that #StomachCancer is developing inside Click To Tweet

Situation 5: The person with stomach cancer loses weight progressively

Either because of a stomach ache, or because food is stuck when it enters the stomach, or because of the vomit, or because stomach fits little food, the person with stomach cancer begins to eat fewer calories.

Gradually the person with stomach cancer will get thinner and thinner.

Losing weight is something that usually #StomachCancer can cause Click To Tweet

Situation 6: Cancer breaks stomach lining and starts bleeding

Because the tumor can break the stomach lining and thus a blood vessel, either from the stomach or from the tumor itself, the person with stomach cancer may start bleeding without knowing it.

It is what´s called “upper gastrointestinal bleeding”.

When bleeding is minor, symptoms won’t be noticed. But if bleeding is constant and with certain intensity, it may appear an anaemia, with the progressive fatigue that goes with it.

Depending on the destination of this blood, and on the bleeding intensity, the person with stomach cancer may realize the bleeding, due to the presence of one or both of these signs:

  • Sign 1: If the elimination of that blood is done through the mouth, the person will vomit gastric content mixed with blood. This is called “hematemesis”.
  • Sign 2: If the elimination of that blood is done through the anus, the person who’s bleeding from the stomach due to gastric cancer may see the stools are black. The black stools are called “melena”.
When #StomachCancer bleeds, blood may get out through the mouth or the anus Click To Tweet

We have seen the symptoms that can cause stomach cancer.

But what happens when the tumor escapes the stomach?

Lets find out!


(If you want to watch the stomach cancer symptoms video starting on the symptoms of the tumor who has escaped the stomach, you can clic just below)

When the tumor is already out of the stomach, it may be because it has escaped through one or more of these three ways:

  • The tumor breaks peritoneum and goes to the abdominal cavity
  • The tumor escapes through the lymphatics
  • Or the tumor enters the blood stream.

Let’s see where each of these three ways lead!

Situation 1: Stomach cancer breaks peritoneum and enters the abdominal cavity

When the tumor grows, it can break out the stomach wall.

This rupture causes stomach cancer cells fall into the peritoneal cavity, and swimming in peritoneal fluid they end up settling on the surface of any abdominal viscera. Groups of cells can join and grow.

These peritoneal implants can cause peritoneal irritation that will be perceived as symptoms of peritonitis, with diffuse abdominal pain.

The growth of multiple tumor implants on the peritoneal surface is called “peritoneal carcinomatosis”.

The stomach cancer cells that are dispersed by the peritoneum may also colonize the liver in its outer zone, irritating the capsule that surrounds it. Due to the irritation caused by these implants, it may appear a localized pain in the upper right abdomen.

If tumor implants are placed in the outside wall of the small intestine, they can cause cessation of transit of intestinal contents, because of the compression of the tube from the outside. They produce a partial bowel obstruction, or a complete intestinal obstruction.

Although not exclusive of stomach cancer, as it can appear in many tumors of the abdominal and pelvic viscera, when tumor cells travel to the navel they can settle there, originating lumps called “nodules of Sister Mary Joseph” . These lumps are clearly seen from the outside. Usually they are a sign that the cancer is in an advanced stage.

#StomachCancer cells can disperse through the abdominal cavity, causing peritonitis and pain Click To Tweet

Situation 2: The tumor has escaped via lymphatic vessels

Stomach cancer cells, when choosing the lymphatic route to escape the body, tend to accumulate first on the lymph nodes surrounding the stomach itself.

Because of this accumulation of tumor cells some symptoms can appear or become more pronounced, as

  • a decreased capacity of the stomach and early satiety
  • and even nausea and vomiting

From lymph nodes close to the stomach, tumor cells can spread to more distant lymph regions, like the one situated behind the pancreas and peritoneum, and the region of the side of the aorta. If they are located in this area, most often they do not cause symptoms, but seldom they can cause pain nerve compression of neighboring structures, such as the celiac plexus.

Lymph nodes infiltrated by #StomachCancer can produce nausea, vomiting and early satiety Click To Tweet

Situation 3: The tumor has escaped through blood

The cells of stomach cancer can enter the blood stream because, within the cancer itself, some cells penetrate a blood vessel after breaking his wall.

Once in the blood, these stomach cancer cells can stay anywhere in the body, causing various symptoms depending on its location.

The most common sites where stomach cancer that has escaped the blood can cause metastasis are the liver, brain and lungs.

The most frequent #StomachCancer metastasis are: liver, brain and lungs Click To Tweet

Liver Metastases:

When stomach cancer cells go to the liver and begin to grow, they begin to crush healthy liver cells. If broken, liver contents, which are transaminases, will be poured into the blood stream. This will increase their blood concentration (as detected in a blood test).

If rapidly growing stomach cancer cells compress small channels within the liver that bile uses to travel, it can accumulate. This increases the indirect bilirubin concentration in the blood, which may condition that the skin gets a yellow tone. This phenomenon is called jaundice.

When #StomachCancer goes to the liver, jaundice and increased transaminases can appear Click To Tweet

Brain Metastases:

When groups of tumor cells start growing within the brain, they can form metastases, that will become increasingly large.

By pushing neighboring neurons, these neurons begin to function in an altered way, and therefore two types of symptoms may occur:

  • irritative symptoms, in which neurons fire pushed uncontrolled flashes: for example, we can have epilepsy, convulsive crisis or not;
  • or deficit symptoms, in which some neurons stop working and their work is not done: we can have loss of mobility, loss of vision, lose feeling in any area of ​​the body, and so on.

In both cases, if there is plenty of tumor in the head, as there is not enough room for so many cells because the skull is a closed cavity with a single large outlet, we can start having headaches. These headaches will gradually go up in intensity and frequency.

Headaches, epilepsy or neurological deficits can be caused by #StomachCancer metastasis Click To Tweet

Lung Metastases:

When tumor cells choose to live within the lungs, they usually form separate groups, therefore appearing multiple metastases.

If they suppress enough lung function, difficulty breathing (a symptom called “dyspnea“) can appear.

If they touch a breathing tube (bronchus or their branches), they can irritate them, appearing a very annoying dry cough.

If lung metastases are placed near a blood vessel, they may break it, pouring a little blood with coughing.

Cough, hemoptysis or dyspnea can be signs of #StomachCancer lung metastasis Click To Tweet

As you can see, stomach cancer can cause the appearance of many signs and symptoms.

Let’s summarize them!


This is the summary, on video, of all the symptoms stomach cancer can cause. You are just a clic away of seeing them!

In the stomach itself:

  • Most often abdominal discomfort appears, which will become abdominal pain.
  • If stomach cancer is located at the entrance to the stomach, it can cause difficulty passing food from the esophagus to the stomach, or a gastroesophageal reflux may appear.
  • If the cancer is at the outlet of the stomach into the small intestine, the person with stomach cancer may have nausea and vomiting when eating.
  • When diffuse stomach cancer affects the entire gastric body, it can cause early satiety, so the person will eat less. Following eating less will come the weight loss, which is accentuated when the cachexia-anorexia syndrome develops, even if the patient eats enough calories with the food.
  • If the stomach lining breaks down, a bleeding will start, appearing black stools or vomiting with blood, in addition to, if bleeding is important, an anemia with the progressive fatigue it involves, if not corrected.

In the lymphatic drainage regions:

  • Most often early satiety is accentuated, and even nausea and vomiting get worse.
  • It is very rare, but abdominal pain can appear if retroperitoneal nerve plexus are affected.

In the rest of the body:

If gastric cancer breaks the stomach wall and escapes through the peritoneum, it can produce:

  • Pain in the liver area,
  • Abdominal pain if peritonitis occurs, due to peritoneal carcinomatosis,
  • Bowel obstruction if implants compress the wall of the small intestine.
  • The appearance on the belly button of “nodules of Sister Mary Joseph

If it spreads using the blood stream, most often:

  • There will be an increase in transaminases or indirect bilirubin concentrations that puts us yellow (phenomenon called jaundice) if the liver is affected;
  • Epileptic seizures or neurological deficits can occur, if the brain is affected;
  • Or we can suffer cough, hemoptysis or dyspnea if metastasis are located in the lungs.


Stomach Cancer Symptoms - All Symptoms

It is very important to know the symptoms of stomach cancer because early detection of stomach cancer is the best way to beat him.

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