What are the Symptoms of Gastric Cancer

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jan 19, 2013
Quick Bites

  • Initial gastric tumour is small and usually causes no symptoms.
  • Some do not cause symptoms until they are quite advanced.
  • Abdominal pain, indigestion & feeling sick are some symptoms.
  • So are unintentional weight loss and blood in stool.

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is a malignant tumour developing from the lining of the stomach. In the past 60 years, there has been a substantial reduction in the number of people diagnosed with stomach cancer.

When a gastric cancer first develops, it is small and usually causes no symptoms. Some do not cause symptoms even until they are quite advanced. Initial symptoms may include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the upper tummy (abdomen), especially after eating.
  • Indigestion. (Most people with indigestion do not have stomach cancer.)
  • Feeling sick, and being off food. Some people have a sense of fullness after eating.
  • Weight loss and/or loss of appetite.
  • You may pass blood out with your stools (faeces). This usually presents as black faeces (called melaena) or dark blood rather than bright red bleeding - which is more unusual with stomach cancer - and implies very serious bleeding in the stomach or bowel.

Symptoms of Gastric Cancer

As the cancer grows in the stomach, symptoms may become worse and may include:

The same symptoms as above, but more severe.

  • Feeling generally unwell and more tired than usual.
  • Becoming anaemic if the tumour regularly bleeds. This can cause you to become more tired than usual.
  • The cancer growing very large and causing a blockage to food and drink.


If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, various other symptoms can develop.

When a person goes to the doctor because of signs or symptoms they are having, doctors can suspect gastric cancers based on them. The doctor will take a history and examine the patient. If stomach cancer is suspected, there are tests done to confirm the diagnosis.

Image: Getty

Read more articles on Understand Gastric Cancer.

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