Stomach Cancer (cont.)

What are the symptoms of stomach cancer?

Early stomach cancer often does not cause symptoms. As the cancer grows, the most common symptoms are:

Most often, these symptoms are not due to cancer. Other health problems, such as an ulcer or infection, can cause the same symptoms. Anyone who has these symptoms should tell their doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

How is stomach cancer diagnosed?

If you have symptoms that suggest stomach cancer, your doctor will check to see whether they are due to cancer or to some other cause. Your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist, a doctor whose specialty is diagnosing and treating digestive problems.

Your doctor will ask about your personal and family health history. You may have blood or other lab tests. You also may have:

  • Physical exam: Your doctor feels your abdomen for fluid, swelling, or other changes. Your doctor also will check for swollen lymph nodes.
  • Endoscopy: Your doctor uses a thin, lighted tube (endoscope) to look into your stomach. Your doctor first numbs your throat with an anesthetic spray. You also may receive medicine to help you relax. The tube is passed through your mouth and esophagus to the stomach.
  • Biopsy: An endoscope has a tool for removing tissue. Your doctor uses the endoscope to remove tissue from the stomach. A pathologist checks the tissue under a microscope for cancer cells. A biopsy is the only sure way to know if cancer cells are present.

You may want to ask your doctor these questions before having a biopsy:

  • How will the biopsy be done?
  • Will it hurt?
  • Are there any risks? What are the chances of infection or bleeding after the biopsy?
  • When can I resume my normal diet?
  • How soon will I know the results?
  • If I do have cancer, who will talk to me about next steps? When?
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/28/2014

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Stomach Cancer - Symptoms Question: What symptoms and signs did you experience with stomach cancer?
Stomach Cancer - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment, surgery, radiation, or therapy did you receive for stomach cancer?
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