What are the symptoms of stomach cancer?

Diagnosing stomach cancer in its early stages can sometimes be difficult because symptoms are often similar to indigestion or a stomach virus. Early-stage symptoms can include:

  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Feeling bloated after eating
  • Heartburn

Signs of more advanced stomach cancer can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Blood in the stool
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Build up of fluid in the abdomen (ascites)
  • Weakness

How is stomach cancer diagnosed?

The medical oncologists, surgical oncologists and radiation oncologists at Miami Cancer Institute use state-of-the-art technology to pinpoint the exact type of tumor and the stage of disease to develop an effective treatment plan.

If your doctor suspects you have stomach cancer, he or she may conduct a physical exam and ask about your medical history as well as your family medical history. Your doctor may also order diagnostic tests, such as blood tests.

You will also likely undergo an endoscopy. During this procedure, your doctor will insert a thin, lighted tube (endoscope) into your mouth and down into your stomach. This allows your doctor to check the stomach lining for suspicious areas or growths. You will be sedated or under anesthesia during this procedure. We may also take a biopsy during the endoscopy. During this procedure, we will remove a tiny piece of tissue from the colon or polyp and a pathologist will examine the tissue under a microscope to see if it has cancerous cells.

Your doctor may use a barium X-ray to help diagnose your cancer. During this procedure, you will drink a liquid that contains barium, a silver-white metal, that shows up on an X-ray. This helps doctors see whether there are any abnormalities in the stomach.

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Taking care of the whole patient is an important component of providing personalized cancer care. Integrated into the fabric of the Miami Cancer Institute, the Cancer Patient Support Center addresses the psychological, physical, social and spiritual needs of our patients during cancer treatment and beyond.

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