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Stomach Cancer

In medicine, stomach cancer can develop in any part of the stomach and may spread throughout the stomach to other organs. The cancer may grow along the stomach wall into the esophagus or into the small intestines.

In many caces, stomach cancer may extend through the stomach wall and spread to nearby lymph nodes and to organs such as the liver, pancreas, and colon. Stomach cancer also may spread to distant organs, such as the lungs, the lymph nodes above the collar bone, and the ovaries.

stomach cancer symptoms

Symptoms of stomach cancer can be hard to find in their early stages. Often there are no symptoms in the early stages and, in many cases, the cancer has spread before it is found. When symptoms do occur, they are often so common to other diseases and so non-invasive that the person ignores them. Symptoms of stomach cancer can include:

  • heartburn
  • discomfort in the abdomen
  • pain in stomach and abdomen
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea and/or constipation
  • bloating of the stomach, especially after meals
  • loss of appetite
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • bleeding (either via vomiting blood or via the bowel movements)

Any of these symptoms may be caused by cancer or by other, less serious health problems, such as a stomach virus or an ulcer. Only a doctor can tell the cause. People who have any of these symptoms should see their primary care physician. They may be referred to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating digestive problems. These doctors are sometimes called gastrointestinal (or GI) specialists.

diagnosind stomach cancer symptoms

To find the cause of symptoms, the doctor asks about the patient's medical history, does a physical exam, and may order laboratory tests. These tests include:

  • fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
  • upper GI series
  • gastroscopic exam

Abnormal tissue seen in a gastroscope examination will be biopsied by the surgeon or gastroenterologist. This tissue is then sent to a pathologist for histological examination under a microscope to check for the presence of cancerous cells. A biopsy, with subsequent histological analysis, is the only sure way to confirm the presence of cancer cells.

Posted by Staff at June 12, 2005 7:35 AM

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