Early-stage stomach cancer (gastric cancer) rarely causes symptoms. In countries where screening for stomach cancer is not routine, such as the United States, most stomach cancers aren’t found until they’ve grown fairly large or have spread outside the stomach.
When stomach cancer does cause signs and symptoms, they can include:
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss (without trying)
- Abdominal (belly) pain
- Vague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
- Feeling full after eating only a small meal
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Vomiting, with or without blood
- Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen
- Blood in the stool
- Feeling tired or weak, as a result of having too few red blood cells (anemia)
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), if the cancer spreads to the liver
Most of these symptoms are more likely to be caused by things other than stomach cancer, such as a viral infection or an ulcer. Some of these symptoms may also be caused by other types of cancer. But people who have any of these problems, especially if they don’t go away or get worse, should see a doctor so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.